With the University of Nevada baseball team trailing 2-0 in the third inning, Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers decided it was necessary to pay his team a visit on the pitching mound.
Powers didn't take long. His message that he wasn't pleased with his team's effort was short and sweet. Powers can consider his message accepted.
Nevada responded by scoring 13 runs on 12 hits in the sixth inning on its way to a 16-5 win over St. Mary's on Tuesday at Peccole Park. The Wolf Pack improved to 28-19 as it began a key 10-game stretch to end the season.
One of the criteria that will be considered when teams are chosen for the NCAA playoffs is how they do in their last 10 games.
"We were flat as a pancake to start," Powers said. Nevada is 16-5 in the Western Athletic Conference and with a three-game series coming up this weekend in Reno against WAC frontrunner Rice, it figured that the Wolf Pack would be looking ahead.
"I can understand it," said Powers about his team's flat start. "But we couldn't afford to lose this game. This team right now is in a position to do something for itself."
During the team meeting, Powers said he asked his team, "You want to throw away everything you've worked for?"
Nevada had six doubles and two home runs -- Jacob Butler's grand slam home run and Chris Dickerson's two-run shot -- during the sixth.
Butler began the rally with a single and actually hit three times in the inning. He had another chance for a grand slam homer, but grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
"I was just looking for a fastball over the plate, something I could drive," Butler said. "I was just trying to hit something hard."
After Butler's single, Tony Cappuccilli doubled before Robert Marcial's RBI single that made it 5-2. Brett Hayes had an RBI double and Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a two-run double that made it 8-2.
Kouzmanoff pulled up a little lame when he came into second and when he couldn't score on Erick Streelman's double, he was taken out of the game with a slightly strained hamstring that didn't appear to be serious.
Butler went on to belt his grand slam that made it 12-2. Dickerson's homer made it 14-2, Marcial's sacrifice fly made it 15-2 and Ryan Strain's RBI single gave Nevada a 16-2 lead. Streelman also doubled twice in the inning.
Kouzmanoff had three hits and four RBI in the game. His 14th homer of the season - a tape measure shot to left field -- cut Nevada's deficit to 2-1 in the fourth. After Chris Gimenez singled, Butler just missed hitting a two-run homer in the inning, but his shot to center was knocked down by the wind.
In the fifth, Dickerson, who had three hits, doubled and scored and Kouzmanoff had an RBI single to give Nevada a 3-2 lead. Streelman also had three hits, Marcial had two hits and Taylor Pullins added a hit for the Wolf Pack.
Brandon Gottier turned in his second straight solid start with Nevada, allowing two runs over six innings while striking out six for the win. Gottier also allowed two runs in six innings in picking up the win last week in a 13-2 victory over San Francisco. "Brandon has thrown two very nice games for us," Powers said.
Game Notes: Nevada's case for an NCAA Tournament bid has been strengthen by its performance against two top 20 teams, UC Riverside and UNLV. The Wolf Pack took two-of-three from both teams and Riverside swept a three-game series from Cal State Fullerton, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time... Reno's Darrick Cummings continues his solid comeback from Tommy John surgery. He allowed an unearned run on Tuesday and still hasn't allowed an earned run in 7.1 innings this season. "My velocity is not really that good," Cummings said. "I'm getting there."