The NCAA regional selection committee not only ended one of the greatest Nevada Wolf Pack baseball seasons in history by not picking the Pack on Monday to compete in its 64-team tournament field. It also ended one of the greatest careers in Wolf Pack history.
Austin Byler, who played two seasons for coach Gary Powers and two for Jay Johnson, ends his four-year Wolf Pack career as one of the program’s greatest players.
The Arizona native, recruited out of Sunrise Mountain High by Powers after the 2011 season, is ranked in the Top 10 in almost all important offensive categories after starting for the better part of his entire four-year Wolf Pack career at third base and first base. Byler’s decision to return to the Wolf Pack for his senior year in 2015 despite getting drafted last June by the Washington Nationals in the ninth round paid off in securing his status as one of the greatest sluggers to ever wear the Silver and Blue.
Here is where Byler now ranks on the list of the following offensive categories. It must be noted that the Wolf Pack career records do not include any statistics compiled by players before the program joined Division I in 1970.
- GAMES: Byler’s 212 games are fifth all-time, right behind Andy Dominique’s 213 from 1994-97.
- AT-BATS: Byler is 7th with 764, behind Matt Maguire (780, 1999-02) and ahead of Rob Richie (723, 1984-87).
- RUNS: Byler is 8th with 183, behind Shaun Kort (188, 2007-10) and ahead of Don Price (173, 1997-2000).
- HITS: Byler is 8th, behind Justin Martin (247, 1996-99) and ahead of Brett Hayes (237, 2003-05).
- DOUBLES: Byler finished with 50 doubles, ranking him 7th between Andy Dominque (52) and Nick Melino (49, 2009-11).
- TRIPLES: Byler’s 11 triples put him in a tie for fifth place with Lyle Overbay (1996-99) and Mike Ceccarelli (1977-80).
- HOME RUNS: Byler is tied for third with 40 with Shawn Scobee (2005-06) and just ahead of Overbay and Jacob Butler (39 from 2002-05).
- RBI: Byler’s 161 RBI are 9th in Pack history between Shane Slayton (174, 1993-96) and Butler and Hayes (both with 156).
- WALKS: Byler walked 115 times in his career, good for fifth place between Richie (120) and Overbay (110).
- HIT BY PITCH: Byler was hit 56 times in his career, good for second place behind just Chris Gimenez (61, 2002-04) and ahead of Corky Miller (54, 1997-98).
Byler’s senior season also puts him in the Pack record book. His 69 runs scored this year are the 10th most in Pack history, tied with Martin (1999). His 54 walks are the second most for one season behind just Justin Drizos’ 58 in 1995. His 20 hit by pitches are tied for 6th with Scobee (2006).
Byler isn’t in the top 10 for average but he did hit .321 for his career. His .507 on base percentage this past season is the best for a Pack player in a single season since Scobee was at .538 in 2006.