Nevada baseball beats San Francisco

RENO - The wind was blowing out at Peccole Park, and Nevada hitters cashed in big time.

The Wolf Pack, who had hit only three home runs at home this season, bashed three and got seven strong innings from starter Ben Colton, who notched his first collegiate win, in the 10-5 victory over San Francisco Tuesday afternoon.

Jacob Kaup and ex-Western Nevada Community College star Tyson Jaquez hit solo homers, and Dan Eastham, who went 2-for-5 with four RBI, hit a three-run homer. All told, Nevada had eight extra-basehits.

Nevada improved to 16-14 heading into its three game weekend series at New Mexico State.

The homers were the first since Terry Walsh homered against Buffalo back on the weekend of Feb. 23-24, and that's a stretch of 15 games.

"We played the conditions for sure," said Kaup. "There were a few games where the wind was blowing out and we didn't capitalize on it. Today we did. Anything hit in the air was going out."

"It's been a while," said Eastham, who boosted his average to .357. "We've had odd weather this year. It's been either real cold or real warm, and it's either hardly any wind or wind."

Nevada coach Gary Powers liked his team's aggressiveness at the plate despite the fact the team didn't get back from its trip to Hawai'i until 9:30 a.m. Monday.

USF tagged Colton for two solo homers in the first four innings, including one by ex-Reed star Lucas DeLong, to grab a 3-2 lead.

Nevada broke loose for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-3 lead.

With one out, Jaquez collected his first college homer and first career RBI, tying the game at 3.

"I hit the ball hard my first time up, and I was looking to hit the ball hard my second time up," Jaquez said. "I've been struggling a lot. At the beginning of the year I was getting a lot of at-bats. My confidence has been a little low. That (homer) helps it."

David Ciarlo followed with a double and Greg Siewart dropped down a bunt single putting runners on first and third. Siewart stole second, and Nick Sansone's infield out scored Ciarlo for a 4-3 lead. A Shaun Kort single made it 5-3, and Eastham delivered a three-run homer for an 8-3 advantage off reliever Cole Stipovich, who came on after Siewart's bunt single.

Eastham's chances have been few and far between this season, but he's taken advantage of his chances.

"He got a pitch up in the zone," Eastham said. "My teammates did a good job of getting on base in front of me. The pitch was up in the zone and I took advantage of it."

Eastham had figured to play quite a bit of first base this season, but Kort's ability to swing the bat (.361) has forced Powers to keep him in the line-up at first base.

"Shaun is having a terrific year, so they had to move me to the outfield," Eastham said.

Colton, who allowed six hits and the aforementioned three runs, was happy to get past the fifth inning which he said has been a problem for him. He said the last time he pitched seven innings in a school game was when he was at College of San Mateo.

"The first two or three innings, he was up in the zone," Powers said. "It was a really good performance once he got settled down. He got in a rhythm. As soon as he made the adjustment, he got them to hit the ball on the ground."

Colton said his change-up and slider were working well. His biggest adjustment was throwing from the stretch even without runners on most of the time.

"I felt I was getting out in front of myself," Colton said. "It helped slow me down (and stay back).

"When Dan hit that three-run shot, it let me pitch with a lead."

Colton blanked the Dons in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, though he did work out of a first-and-third with one-out situation in the sixth by getting Derek Poppert to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"I just focused on seizing the moment," Colton said when asked if he was surprised that Powers kept him in so long. "I just kept on going."

Consecutive doubles by Walsh, Eastham and Baker Krukow accounted for Nevada's final two runs in the sixth.

Patrick Mason pitched a scoreless eighth in place of Colton, but was yanked after giving up a triple and single to start the ninth. Jordan Salazar gave up a run-scoring double to make it 10-5, but retired the Dons without any further damage.

Notes: Walsh had a nice 2-for-3 effort off the bench and raised his average to .342, while Krukow drilled two doubles and is now at .290 ... Colton lowered his ERA to 7.71 ... DeLong went 2-for-4 and played the entire game in center field for the Dons, who dropped to 14-13 overall. He and catcher Daniel Morales were the only USF players with two hits.


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