RENO - Leo Radkowski had a game Friday night he'd like to forget. The Nevada second baseman went 0-for-5, all inning-ending outs, and stranded nine of the Pack's 11 runners.
But that's what great about the game of baseball. You usually don't have long to wait for a chance to redeem yourself, and Radkowski really made up for his offensive woes on Sunday.
He drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a fourth-inning single in the first game to lead the Pack to a 5-4 win, and his eighth-inning single snapped a 3-all tie and led to a 5-3 second-game win and a doubleheader sweep of New Mexico State Sunday afternoon at Peccole Park.
The win was Nevada's eighth straight win, its longest streak since 1999. Nevada improved to 13-12 overall, 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. Meanwhile, the Aggies dropped their 12th straight game, the second-longest losing streak in school history.
"It's important when things go bad you don't get too low, and when things go well you don't get too high," Radkowski said. "I try to stay on an even keel.
"I was happy to get plenty of opportunities to make up for the other night, and I was happy I was able to come through. I made sure I didn't get too nervous. I made sure I didn't try to do too much. Every bad game is disheartening and feels like the end of the world. I give myself 15 minutes and then I get over it."
Nevada coach Gary Powers was happy to see Radkowski rebound, and he was thrilled to see his team sweep the Aggies and move into a tied for first with Fresno State. Both teams are 3-0 in conference.
"It's tough to read in the newspaper that you made five third outs," Powers said. "That's OK. If the truth hurts, do something about it. Today good things will be written. That's the way this game is.
"These guys are feeling good right now and rightfully so. They have played all year. Like I was saying before, we are the least experienced and youngest team in the league. To start off and win three is huge. We needed that for confidence."
One guy not lacking for confidence is right fielder Shawn Scobee, who pounded two two-run homers and drove in Nevada's first four runs in the first game. Scobee moved into the top-10 all-time in homers with his 28th and 29th homers.
"I was working on seeing the ball well today," Scobee said. "I worked on my right side (staying in). I was pulling off the curveball away."
Nevada's Ryan Rodriguez started the opening game in inauspicious fashion, allowing two hits, three runs and three walks. He was behind in the count on nearly every hitter.
The Pack pulled to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning when leadoff hitter David Ciarlo singled, was balked to second and scored on Scobee's towering homer over the 20-foot batting eye in center field.
The Aggies added a run in the second when Joseph Godinez walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, to third on Vince Rodden's infield single and scored on Jason Long's infield out.
Nevada pulled even in the third when Dayton's Matt Bowman singled with one out and scored on Scobee's towering homer to right-center field.
"I knew both of them were out," said Scobee, who hit a fastball on his first homer and a slider on the second.
The Pack went ahead for good in the fourth. Trevor O'Sullivan blooped a single to left, but was forced by Jordan Opdyke, who was balked to second by starter/loser Brian Gausman. Radkowsky followed with a single to center, scoring Opdyke to make it 5-4.
Rodriguez (3-4), who settled down after the second inning, was lifted with one out and two on in the sixth in favor of Steve Taylor, who fanned Godinez and retired Jason Rodriguez on a fly to right to end the inning.
Taylor breezed through the seventh and eighth, and was one out away from earning the save when he ran into trouble. A single by Vince Rodden, a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases. With the dangerous Luke Hopkins coming to the plate, Powers went to the bullpen for lefty Patrick Mason, who retired Hopkins on three pitches to end the game and earn the save.
The key was Taylor's ability to stabilizing what could have been an ugly opening game.
"No question," Powers said. "He came in when Ryan was struggling. I thought Ryan battled for not having less than great stuff. He (Taylor) picked it up. Then Mason getting their best hitter ... that was big for this team."
Taylor worked 3 1/3 innings, striking out three, walking two and hitting a batter.
"The first few innings I felt pretty good," Taylor said. "The guys behind me were making good plays. I threw the ball for strikes."
In the nightcap, Scobee singled home a run off NMSU starter Jason Conner to give the Pack a 1-0 lead.
The Aggies touched starter Travis Sutton for two runs in the top of the fourth, one of them scoring when Sutton threw wildly past first base on a sacrifice bunt. The Pack tied the game at 2 on Opdyke's single.
Nevada snapped the 2-all tie in the sixth when Radkowski delivered a one-out single to score pinch-runner Drew Johnson. Radkowski was thrown out between first and second. NMSU knotted the game at 3 on Abe Aguirre's sacrifice fly in the seventh off reliever Wesley Dorsett, who pitched the last 2 2/3 innings to pick up his first win of the season.
Frank Duran came on for NMSU in the bottom of the eighth, and he ran into trouble after retiring the first two batters. Duran hit Brian Joynt with a pitch, walked Opdyke and gave up back-to-back singles to Radkowski and Durell Williams, allowing the Pack to take a 5-3 lead.
Powers felt that Sutton pitched well most of his six innings until he started to get behind hitters.
"He's not the kind of guy that comes in and throws 120 pitches," Powers said. "He's a 90-pitch guy. If he's going to get into the seventh and eight inning, he needs to get guys on a lot of first and second pitches."
Not to worry. The Nevada bullpen was equal to the task again.
NOTES: The power went out at the stadium in the top of the seventh, and school officials were unable to get electricity back on, which meant no scoreboard and no announcer ... Nevada returns to action Tuesday at UC Davis. Powers said he will staff the game out since there were seven or eight pitchers who didn't get an opportunity to throw this weekend... Bowman had his nine-game hitting streak snapped in the nightcap, going 0-for-4.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281