UNR tops UC-Riverside 8-6, now looks for sweep

RENO -- After an 8-6 win against UC-Riverside on Saturday, the University of Nevada baseball team might be venturing into unchartered territory. After starting the season 4-10, the Wolf Pack can get above .500 for the first time this season with they play the Highlanders in the final game of a three-game series today at 1 at Peccole Park.

Obviously, they are excited at that prospect.

"Absolutely. It's a boost just to get to .500," said junior Chris Dickerson, who went 2-for-4 in the win. "But we need this one. UC-Riverside has been really playing well and has beaten some good teams. I'm confident that we are playing more to the our capabilities."

UC-Riverside, which came to Reno with an impressive 21-4 record, will try to avoid being swept for the first time this season. Even though the Highlanders lost by only two runs in front of 1,312 fans yesterday, the game was never really in doubt.

Nevada starter J.T. Sherman pitched five scoreless innings before getting into some trouble in the eighth. He gave up nine hits and struck out five and evened his record to 3-3. Zachary Basch, who earned three saves in as many games in a series sweep last week against Hawai'i, faced only eight batters in the final two innings.

"J.T. did a nice job of locating his pitches keeping them off balance against a very good college baseball hitting team," Powers said of the former Las Vegas Durango High star. "He did masterful job. They are not hitting .350 (as a team) at this point in the season unless they got some guys who are able."

One of them was Ryan Harvey, who went 3-for-5 against the Wolf Pack and leads the team with a .444 average. But the most timely hitting was done by Nevada, which has now won five of six games. Tony Cappuccilli went 4-for-4 with two solo homers and a double. Robert Marcial was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Cappuccilli's homer in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season, gave the Wolf Pack a 7-0 lead. Sherman, who was looking for the shut out, which hasn't happened to the Highlanders since last April, gave up a three-run home run to Jason Collette in the sixth to make it 7-3. Cappuccilli, whose only other two home-run game came last season against San Jose State, hit his second of the game in the seventh, a shot over the wall in the right center field wall, to give Nevada an 8-3 lead.

Sherman started tiring and UC-Riverside (21-6) took advantage. It scored three runs off four hits in the eighth. But Basch struck out Brian Wahlbrink with a runner on second to end the inning.

"We gotta' come out and keep playing with confidence," said Cappuccilli, who hit his team leading ninth double of the season in the second inning. "Our starters are going late in games. We're doing a real good job of getting guys on second and getting them in scoring position. When it does happen, that's when we start having success. In games we've lost, we've left guys on second and third with one out and you can't do that and expect to win."

Highlander starting pitcher Jaymie Torres, who was undefeated at 5-0, lost for the first time this season. Julio Fernandez (2-0) will likely face Nevada's Eddie Bonine (2-4, 4.30 ERA) in today's game. As long as the Wolf Pack plays textbook baseball, meaning getting players in scoring position and making sure they score, as well as minimizing errors, they shouldn't have a problem sweeping the Highlanders.

"That's what we've been talking to them about," Powers said. "When we're doing those things, we're a very good team. When we don't do those things, we can be a very average team."


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