Nevada baseball: Balk gives Pack win

RENO - The Nevada Wolf Pack is finding new ways to win a baseball game lately.

The Wolf Pack beat San Francisco State 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon at Peccole Park as Gators reliever Steven Dea balked in the winning run with the bases loaded.

"We need them any way we can get them right now," said Nevada coach Gary Powers, whose Wolf Pack have now won six of their last eight games to improve to 11-17 on the season. "We got a win. That's the most important thing."

The Wolf Pack, which beat Seattle on Saturday, 11-10, with six runs in the bottom of the ninth, trailed the Gators 3-2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. A leadoff home run by Brock Stassi, his second home run of the year, evened the score at 3-3 in the eighth inning.

Hugo Hernandez opened the Wolf Pack ninth inning with a triple to right field off Gators reliever Jeff Clegg. Clegg then intentionally walked Carlos Escobar and Jake Schu to load the bases.

Dea, who has started seven games this season, never made an official pitch in relief of Clegg as he balked on his first offering to Nick Melino. Melino was hitless in his last 19 at-bats, since his single in the bottom of the 10th inning beat Utah Valley on April 3.

The balk was Dea's first this season in 45.2 innings over 11 appearances.

"I was watching the young man warm up and he did it (balk) every time," said Powers of the 6-foot, 155-pound left-handed Dea. "He did it again on his first pitch and all three umpires made the call at the same time."

The Wolf Pack used eight pitchers to win the non-league game. Outfielder Waylen Sing Chow made his Wolf Pack pitching debut and gave up two hits and two runs in the third inning.

Matt Gardner pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second victory of the year without a loss. Wolf Pack shortstop Joe Kohan threw San Francisco State's Chris Schindler out at the plate in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Gardner, a Damonte Ranch High graduate, has not allowed an earned run this season over 11 games and 11.1 innings.

Braden Shipley, who also plays the infield, made the start for the Pack and didn't allow a run in two innings while striking out four.

"He gave us two solid innings," Powers said.

The Pack used eight pitchers to win the non-conference game.

"We got a solid outing from four or five guys today," Powers said. "It was a good day for our pitching staff."

The Wolf Pack took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Stassi singled and later scored on an error. Garrett Yrigoyen, whose two-run homer beat Seattle on Saturday, also drove in a run in the inning with a single.

That was the end of the Pack offense until Stassi's homer in the eighth. Stassi got three hits to lift his average to .312 on the year. The senior, who was hitting .192 after the first nine games, is hitting .358 over his last 19 games.

The Gators and Wolf Pack pitching staffs combined to strike out 21 hitters.

"If you walked a guy today, you really walked a guy," Powers said with a smile, referring to the home plate umpire's seemingly extra large strike zone.

The Pack now heads into Western Athletic Conference play starting Friday night at Fresno State.

"Our record, obviously, is nowhere near where we'd like it to be," Powers said. "But we've righted the ship a little bit lately (6-2 on the just completed home stand). So we're headed in the right direction.

"And we'll find out what this team is made of as we go through the conference schedule."


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