The Mountain West's road to an NCAA baseball regional will go through Reno.
Wolf Pack baseball coach T.J. Bruce appeared on Friday's NSN Daily and announced Peccole Park will host this year's Mountain West Tournament.
"This is actually the first time it's public," Bruce said. "We're excited about that. The Mountain West Tournament will be in Reno at our home field. We're really excited to give the community that opportunity. Obviously, it's a four-team tournament, but the road to the Regional now runs through Nevada and in Reno this year. It's such a special community and we're just glad to present that and to have the opportunity to have the community see that and host it and show everybody how special the city is to us."
This will mark only the third time Reno has hosted a conference baseball tournament. Peccole Park hosted the 2007 WAC Tournament (won by Fresno State) and the 2015 MW Tournament (won by San Diego State). This year's event will be held in late May. As the winner of last year's MW regular-season title, the Wolf Pack earned the right to host this year's tournament. New Mexico hosted the 2016 and 2017 events in Albuquerque; SDSU hosted the 2018 in San Diego.
The Wolf Pack hasn't had much luck in conference baseball tournaments, falling short of winning the title in all 16 of its appearances in them (seven in the WAC; six in the Mountain West; three in the Big West). Nevada is 23-32 in conference tournaments overall, including 7-12 in the MW events. The MW hasn't had an at-large team reach an NCAA Regional since UNLV did so in 2014, so it's likely the only team from the conference to make the national tournament will be the one that gets an automatic berth by winning the MW Tournament.
Bruce's squad went 29-24 overall last season and 20-9 in the MW. The Wolf Pack was 18-4 at home and is 546-264 all-time at Peccole Park, so playing at home should be an advantage as long as Nevada qualifies for the event. The top four teams in the seven-team MW reach the conference tournament. Nevada has placed in the top four in the regular season in each of the last five years, including two regular-season championships (2015 and 2018).
The Wolf Pack started fall practice last month and Bruce has been pleased with his team's progress so far.
"It's been great," Bruce said. "We're in our third week of team practice. It's been good to get the new guys acclimated to what we're doing and really build upon the program. You're always trying to work on culture and it's been fun to do that."
Last weekend, Nevada baseball held a family weekend, an idea Bruce borrowed from Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who invited the families of his rookies to mini-camp. Bruce did the same with his players' parents.
"I just thought it was a great idea and, 'How can we make that a part of what we're doing?' and we did," Bruce said. "We had over 75 family members on top of 33 kids and our own families. It was just great to see them get that insight. We met, we talked about philosophy of the program, we talked about what we're tying to accomplish. It's co-parenting. I talked to the families about that a lot."
You can catch the entire interview with Bruce – including a spicy bet he has made with Nevada football coach Jay Norvell on the Dodgers-Brewers series – when NSN Daily airs tonight at 4 p.m. The show also will stream live on NevadaSportsNet.com starting at 4 p.m.