The Nevada Wolf Pack's hopes for a Mountain West regular season baseball championship took a big hit Sunday.
The Wolf Pack fell to the Air Force Falcons 5-4 on Sunday at Falcon Field. The winning scored on a wild pitch by Pack reliever Adam Whitt with two outs in the eighth inning, breaking a 4-4 tie. The Pack had tied the game at 4-4 with three runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The 2-1 series loss to the last place Falcons (17-30, 7-17) leaves the Wolf Pack at 24-20 overall and 14-10 in the Mountain West. The Pack is now two games behind both UNLV and New Mexico (both 16-8 in league play) with just six games left to play in the Mountain West regular season.
The Pack is in third place just ahead of San Diego State (13-11). Fresno State (12-15), San Jose State (9-18) and Air Force (7-17) round out the standings.
A sweep over the Falcons this weekend -- the Pack swept Air Force in three games at Peccole Park earlier this season -- would have created a three-way tie atop the Mountain West with the Pack, UNLV and New Mexico.
The Wolf Pack will finish its Mountain West schedule against the top two teams in the league. The Pack will host New Mexico in three games at Peccole Park this Friday-Sunday before closing out the regular season May 15-17 at UNLV for three games.
The Wolf Pack, which returns to Peccole Park on Tuesday (against UC Davis) and Wednesday (against St. Mary's) for a pair of non-league games, fell behind 4-0 on Sunday after five innings.
Russell Williams' triple scored Bradley Haslam as Air Force took a 1-0 lead in the second inning off Pack starter Jason Deitrich. Tyler Saleck tripled in two runs as the Falcons took a 3-0 lead in the third. A solo home run by Noah Pierce gave Air Force a 4-0 lead in the fifth.
Deitrich lasted just four innings and allowed six hits and three runs.
The Wolf Pack, though, rallied in the sixth and seventh innings off Air Force starter Steve Trojan.
Kyle Hunt, who had three hits, tripled and scored on a single by Kewby Meyer as the Pack cut Air Force's lead to 4-1 in the sixth. The Wolf Pack then scored three runs in the seventh off Trojan as Hunt and Scott Kaplan each had RBI singles. The Pack also scored a run in the inning on a ground out by Jay Anderson.
Air Force, which beat the Pack 3-2 on Friday, then pushed across a run in the eighth inning to reclaim the lead.
Whitt, making his 24th appearance of the year, allowed a leadoff single to Pierce to start the eighth inning. Travis Neubeck then bunted Pierce to second and the Pack responded by walking Saleck intentionally. Whitt then got Griffin Jax to fly out to center for the second out but the Pack reliever then hit Haslam on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases.
Whitt's wildness continued as he uncorked a wild pitch with Williams at the plate, allowing Pierce to score. It was Whitt's fourth wild pitch of the season.
Pierce was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.
Whitt, who threw just 10 of his 24 pitches in the eighth inning for strikes, is now 5-4 this season. His nine decisions leads the team despite all 24 of his appearances coming in relief.
The Wolf Pack lost this series despite outscoring the Falcons 18-12 in the three games.