RENO -- With pitching ace Mateo Miramontes keeping the ball down on a typical "baseball weather" day at Peccole Park, it figured to favor the home team.
But in this case, UNLV looked like it was the home team. Even though Miramontes was able to keep the ball down, the Rebels were still able to get the ball up in the wind to hit five home runs on their way to a 13-5 win over the University of Nevada on Saturday.
Even though UNLV starter Robbie Van, who came in with a 7.02 earned run average, wasn't overpowering, he did a good enough job through five innings to pick up the win. The Wolf Pack left 11 runners and left the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings.
Simply put, UNLV better took advantage of the cold and windy conditions than Nevada did.
"It should be to our advantage," Miramontes said. "They played our ball park like we should play it."
Nevada (4-10) lost its sixth straight. "We're in a rut right now," Miramontes said. "Once we pull out of it, we'll be fine."
When the Wolf Pack struggled last year, the team began to establish clicks, Miramontes said. But he said that isn't the case this season. "We're sticking together," he said.
The Wolf Pack's frustration reached its zenith last weekend when Nevada blew a 9-1 lead in the ninth inning on its way to a 10-9 loss in 14 innings at No. 2 Cal State Fullerton. In that game, Miramontes pitched brilliantly for eight innings before leaving with an eight-run lead.
"I'm still in shock," Miramontes said. "I don't even like to talk about it."
Nevada also has a 5-4 loss to highly ranked Stanford. "We've gone toe-to-toe with two top five teams," Miramontes said.
Miramontes was touched for eight runs, seven earned, over five innings. Brandon Gottier was touched for three home runs and five runs over two innings. Nevada did receive an encouraging effort from freshman Ryan Harbaugh, who pitched two scoreless innings.
"On a day like today, maybe not the guy who pitched the best won the game," said Nevada coach Gary Powers, comparing Miramontes to Van. "He (Miramontes) was around the plate better."
But Powers noted both teams played in the same conditions and that his team "had the same opportunities."
Nevada tied tghe game 1-1 in the second inning on an RBI single by Mike Hass. But with runners at first and third and one out, Taylor Pullins hit into an inning-ending double play.
"We should have beat him," said Hass about Van. "We beat ourselves."
Miramontes was touched for two runs in the third, but looked to have gotten out of the inning when he induced an apparently harmless fly ball from Ryan Ruiz. But the wind kept taking it over the right centerfield fence for a two-run home run that gave UNLV a 5-1 lead.
"When he hit that, I started walking into the dugout," Miramontes said. "I was missing low for most of the game. It wasn't like I was putting the ball over the plate."
Down 6-1 in the fourth, Nevada fought back to close to within 6-5. Robert Marcial's beautifully placed bunt single down the first base line made it 6-3. Erick Streelman followed with a two-out single down the right field line with two strikes that scored two runs, making it 6-5.
But that was the only clutch two-out hit that Nevada had in the game and the Wolf Pack ended up leaving the bases loaded.
"I think the difference in the game is when we had a chance to seize the moment, we didn't do a good enough job of that," Powers said.
Miramontes did make a mistake in the fifth against Fernando Valenzuela, the son of the former Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching great. Miramontes put one in the left-handed Valenzuela's power zone and Valenzuela dispatched the pitch over the new $63,000 scoreboard in right centerfield to give UNLV an 8-5 lead.
"I threw into the lefty zone, low and inside," Miramontes said. "That's a no-no."
In the sixth, Brent Johnson belted a two-run homer and Eddie Gill followed with a solo shot. In the seventh, Robert VanKirk hit a two-run shot for UNLV.
Brett Hayes, Chris Dickerson and Erick Streelman all had two hits while Ben Mummy and Kevin Kouzmanoff each added a hit for Nevada.