The sun, perhaps, is beginning to shine for the Wolf Pack, much the way it did at Peccole Park Thursday afternoon, as Nevada looks to turn its young season around. Nevada beat Northern Illinois 12-8 for its second win in as many days.
The offense exploded for 12 runs on 10 hits and the bullpen held the Huskies to two runs on two hits over the last five and two-thirds innings to pick up the win.
Nevada starter Ryan Rodriguez struggled early, allowing the first four Northern Illinois batters to score in the first inning and the first six to reach base before a bases-loaded double play got the Wolf Pack out of the jam. Shortstop David Ciarlo caught a soft liner at his shoe laces and threw to third, catching the runner off base.
The Wolf Pack rallied in the bottom of the third, scoring six runs on just two hits. Third baseman Matt Bowman started things off with a one-out walk. Sean Scobee was hit by a pitch and catcher Baker Krukow followed with another walk. First baseman Terry Walsh then hit a bomb over the left field fence, cleaning the bases with his third home run of the season. Matt Suleski was hit by a pitch before DH Andrew Matthews hit into a ground out. Second baseman Leo Radkowski stepped in and sent a ball out of the yard and over the parking lot behind the left field fence to give Nevada a 6-4 lead.
"Nothing feels better than hitting a home run," Radkowski, who has hit two this year, said. "Especially if it ties the game or gives your team the lead."
Nevada pushed four more runs across in the fourth as Dayton's Bowman again got a rally started, this time with an infield single. Bowman moved to second on a throwing error by Northern Illinois' third baseman. Scobee was hit again by a pitch before Krukow hit a towering flyball that landed at the base of the fence in left-center for a two-run double. Suleski singled and stole second before Radkowski laced a two RBI single to left.
Rodriguez breezed through the second and third innings before getting chased in the fourth after giving up two runs and the lead. Junior right-hander Matt Renfree came in and shut the Huskies down for three innings before giving up a two-run homer in the eighth. The home run was the only hit allowed by Renfree who picked up his first career win in his longest outing of the year. Renfree threw four and a third innings, striking out two without walking a batter.
"He really deserved it," Nevada coach Gary Powers said of Renfree's win. "He worked hard and kept the ball down at the plate. Matt really kept the game stable."
"I felt good out there," Renfree said. "I kept the ball down and had good defense behind me. It's great to get that first one (win)."
Powers was also happy to see Radkowski's bat heat up.
Radkowski ended the day 4 for 5 with a home run and five RBI.
"We needed that," Powers said. "That takes the pressure off of the middle of the line-up. Leo's a great hitter and we knew that he would come around."
Radkowski credited his day to patience at the plate.
"I've just been working on seeing the ball better, said Radkowski. "I'm trying to be more patient and getting better pitches to hit. I got some good pitches today and I didn't miss them."
The Wolf Pack improved their record to 7-12 and will host Northern Illinois again today at 2 p.m.