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Wolf Pack, Byler pound Air Force

The Nevada Wolf Pack bats came alive Saturday at Falcon Field.

The Wolf Pack pounded out a season-high dozen runs on 18 hits to beat the Air Force Falcons 12-4 on Saturday to even this three-game Mountain West series at a game apiece. Austin Byler hit two home runs and had four hits, three runs scored and three RBI to lead the Pack.

Byler hit a solo home run in the third inning to give the Pack a 3-0 lead. He also connected for a two-run blast in the fifth as the Pack opened a commanding 7-0 advantage.

Byler, a junior, now leads the Wolf Pack with 10 home runs and 35 RBI on a .340 average. The first baseman is the first Pack player to hit as many as 10 homers in a season since Brian Barnett had 18 in 2010. Barnett, Matt Bowman (10 in 2009) and Byler are the only Pack players with 10 or more homers in a season since Shawn Scobee erupted for 22 in 2006.

Byler now has 22 home runs and 97 RBI in his Wolf Pack career.

The victory keeps the Wolf Pack in the thick of the race for first place in the Mountain West. The Pack, now 24-19 overall, is 14-9 in the Mountain West, trailing closely behind UNLV (16-8) and New Mexico (15-8) and just ahead of San Diego State (13-10).

Air Force, which beat the Pack 3-2 on Friday, fell to 16-30, 6-17.

Byler wasn't the only one doing damage with the bat on Saturday for the Pack. Trenton Brooks had four hits, two runs scored and two RBI to lift his average to .331. Brooks hit a solo home run in the Wolf Pack's four-run fifth inning and had a RBI double in a four-run sixth inning.

Kewby Meyer, Scott Kaplan and Jordan Devencenzi each had two hits for the Pack. Meyer hit his 21st double of the year to drive in a run in the fifth. Devencenzi had a two-run single in the second inning to give the Pack a 2-0 lead.

Barry Timko dominated the Air Force hitters. The lefthander didn't allow a run in seven innings of work. He also allowed just three hits and didn't walk a hitter while striking out three to improve to 5-2 on the year. Timko lowered his earned run average to 3.63.

Air Force starter Griffin Jax allowed 11 runs on 14 hits in six innings.

Kyle Hunt hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot, to give the Pack a 9-0 lead in the sixth inning.

The Falcons and Wolf Pack will conclude the series on Sunday (11 a.m.).

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