RENO - History was made at Peccole Park Friday night. Too bad it was at the expense of a Wolf Pack team that is reeling, having lost four straight and seven of its last eight.
Utah Valley State's Kam Mickolio threw the first complete game shutout against the Pack in Peccole Park as the Wolverines beat Nevada 5-0. Mickolio gave up four hits, striking out five and walking two.
Dayton's Matt Bowman, who led the Wolf Pack in hitting with a .385 average coming into the game, led off for Nevada with a ringing line drive to center field. The Wolf Pack wouldn't hit another ball out of the infield until the eighth inning.
"Sometimes you have to give credit to the guy who's pitching against you," said Nevada coach Gary Powers. "He did a good job of keeping the ball down, hitting his spots and keeping our guys off balance. I think we were a little passive at the plate early on and made it a little easy on him."
Nevada managed just four singles on the night, and two were weak rollers down the third base line. The Wolf Pack's lone scoring threat came in the eighth when Trevor O'Sullivan, pinch hitting for left fielder Drew Johnson singled. O'Sullivan moved to third when Bowman hit a sharp grounder to short and the throw missed the second baseman and rolled into short right field. The Pack couldn't capitalize as Durrell Williams flew out to right to end the inning.
The Wolverines went to the plate swinging aggressively against Nevada starter Tim Schoeninger. After leadoff hitter Brad Hales struck out swinging to start the game, center fielder Nick Conner blasted a double to the base of the wall in right-center. Shortstop Eli Slesk followed with a double to the wall in the gap in left, scoring Conner and putting up what turned out to be the winning run.
Utah Valley State threatened in the second and third innings but Schoeninger managed to work out of trouble. The Wolverines loaded the bases with one out in the third, before Schoeninger picked the runner off at third and got the batter with a swinging strikeout.
Though Schoeninger gave up 12 hits, he probably pitched well enough to win, giving up just three runs while striking out seven and walking none in seven innings of work. Steve Taylor finished the game allowing two runs on four hits. All of the Wolverines runs were earned.
"I've been here 24 years," Powers said, "and anytime you have a pitcher give up three runs in seven innings, you've got to think you have a chance to win."
Though the Wolf Pack hitters are struggling, Bowman doesn't think its panic time yet.
"We are in a funk. We're definitely in one, but we're not quitting. We're playing to the end. I think we'll be fine. We'll figure it out. Tomorrow, we need a better approach. We'll get it going, and when we do, it'll be good."
The shutout is just the second for Nevada at Peccole Park, the first coming at the hands of Stanford in 2005. The Cardinal used four pitchers in that game.
The loss drops Nevada to 15-20, while Utah Valley State improved its record to 13-27. The Wolverines will be in Reno all weekend with games today and Sunday at 1 p.m.