RENO - Adam Colton waited patiently for his opportunity to be a starting pitcher, and he has justified coach Gary Powers' decision with some solid pitching.
Colton, 4-1, scattered 13 hits in his first complete game, and the Wolf Pack hitters feasted on Louisiana Tech pitching for the second straight day en route to an easy 11-2 Western Athletic Conference victory before a crowd of 1,163 Saturday at Peccole Park.
Nevada improved to 11-9 in conference play and 26-22 overall. The win was Nevada's fifth straight and 10 of the last 11 over the Bulldogs, who dropped to 6-16 in conference and 15-33 overall.
Colton, who was inserted into the starting rotation four weeks ago, has three wins and a no decision in his last five starts. His 118-pitch, one earned-run effort could be termed gritty if nothing else. He wiggled out of more difficult situations than Houdini.
"The key for me is to locate my fastball and get ahead early," Colton said. "I definitely got in jams. I got out of one with the double play and (Jacob) Butler made a great play. Those two helped me stay in the game.
"I have to pitch with confidence. I had confidence early in the year, but I knew they had set guys. Your opportunity comes, and you have to take advantage of that opportunity. I stayed in and threw pretty well."
Powers liked the way Colton stays within himself on the mound, and doesn't try to do too much.
"Adam has been around the game," Powers said. "He knows his capabilities and what he has to do to be successful. When he's done well, he's put the ball where he's supposed to. If you don't get the ball where you need to, it's going to be a short day."
While Colton was keeping Tech hitters quiet, Nevada pounded out 12 hits of its own. In two games, the Wolf Pack has beat up Bulldog pitchers for 34 hits.
Chris Gimenez gave Nevada a 3-0 lead in the third with a bases-loaded double off Clayton Meyer, and Nevada made it 6-0 in the fourth when Brett Hayes hit a two-run homer, his first at Peccole Park this year, and Butler slugged his 15th homer moments later.
Butler is tied for sixth in single-season homers with three players, including Lyle Overbay, and ninth for career homers (27) with Corky Miller.
In the fifth, Butler made a stellar defensive play. With the bases loaded, he caught Mims Boyce's fly ball in right and fired a one-hopper to Hayes, who reached up to catch the ball on the first hop and blocked Gary Holik off the plate for the double play. Colton got Brandon Haygood on a roller to shortstop to keep the shutout alive.
The Wolf Pack made it 10-0 in its half of the fifth when Erick Streelman blasted a solo homer, Brian Gazzero drove in two with a double and Hayes drove in one with an infield out.
Louisiana Tech snapped the shutout in the sixth when Jeff Walker doubled, moved to third on a fly ball to deep center and scored on Will Wade's infield out.
The Bulldogs had Colton on the ropes in the next inning, loading the bases with no outs. He induced Boyce to ground into a 1-2-3 double play and retired Haygood again to end the inning.
Ex-Carson star Joe Mercer doubled home Nevada's final run in the eighth, and Colton allowed an unearned run in the ninth. Colton fanned three and walked one.
NOTES: Ryan Rodriguez is expected to oppose Matt Lacy today at 1 in the series finale... The x-rays on Bub Madrid's neck were negative, according to Powers. Madrid will be held out of today's game and probably Tuesday's home game against UOP. Powers hopes to have Madrid back for next weekend's series against Rice.