Wolf Pack rallies past Wildcats to split four-game series
MESA, Ariz. – The University of Nevada baseball team rallied back to force a split of its four-game series against Northwestern, posting its second straight victory with a 10-6 win against the Wildcats on Sunday at Sloan Park. The Wolf Pack leveled its record at 2-2, rebounding from a doubleheader loss on Friday with consecutive quality victories against a Big Ten opponent on the weekend
Nevada fell into an early three-run deficit before scoring seven unanswered runs to come charging back – as it did in the overall series as well. Sophomore TJ Friedl led Nevada, going 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI and three runs while also belting his first career home run; a two-RBI blast over the right field fence in the fifth inning. Senior RHP Zach Wilkins took the win on the mound in his second career start.
“I thought we stayed present and worked the process,” said Bruce. “We fell behind 3-0 early, but we didn’t chase the scoreboard. The team just worked hard pitch to pitch and kept working the process, which was good to see.”
Wilkins — a reliever last season who has earned a spot in the starting rotation this year — gave up a single and hit batter before allowing a two RBI double and an RBI single as Northwestern jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Wilkins settled down from there, only surrendering one additional run and three hits over the next 4.1 innings to take the win.
Wilkins struck out a career-high eight batters.
Nevada responded with two runs in the second frame on junior Brandon Evans’ two RBI single down the right field line. The Pack later took the lead with another two runs in the fourth inning as Friedl scored on an error and junior Miles Mastrobuoni hit an RBI single, giving Nevada a 4-3 lead.
The Pack broke the game open in the fifth with three runs. Senior catcher Justin Hazard tripled down the right field line to score senior Bryce Greager before Friedl blasted his first career home run to plate two runs. Nevada added one run in the sixth, taking an 8-4 lead as Mastrobuoni stole third and then took home on a throwing error.
Nevada capped its damage with two runs in the eighth inning. Redshirt freshman Keaton Smith hit a lead-off home run for his first career homer, while junior Trenton Brooks hit an RBI sacrifice fly to put the game out of reach.
Wilkins pitched into the sixth inning before junior RHP Ty Pennington entered the game. Pennington allowed just one run and two hits while striking out three in 2.2 innings of worked. Junior RHP Trevor Charpie pitched in the ninth frame, allowing one run.
Nevada scored 10 runs on 14 hits with four three-hit performances. In addition to Friedl’s efforts, Hazard also led Nevada with three hits, two runs and an RBI. Mastrobuoni also went a perfect 3-of-3 at the plate with a pair of runs, while junior Justin Bridgman added three hits.
The Wolf Pack will play its fifth road game in the span of five days on Tuesday, traveling to Arizona State. First pitch between the Pack and undefeated Sun Devils (4-0) is set for 5:30 p.m. PT at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.