Baseball: Pack drops two on the road
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team wasted a couple of solid pitching performances Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Wolf Pack dropped a doubleheader to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, losing the first game 5-3 and then getting just one hit in a 2-1 loss in the second game.
The one hit is the fewest the Wolf Pack has gotten in a game since the school joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2001.
The Pack, now 4-11, had gotten just two hits in a game just four times over the past 10 seasons — in a 1-0 loss at UC Irvine on March 20, 2009, a 14-0 loss at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 4, 2006, a 6-1 loss at UC Riverside on Feb. 12, 2005 and a 3-1 loss at Fresno State on April 22, 2005.
Santa Barbara’s Matthew Vedo, in his first season in Division I baseball after two seasons at Yuba College, tossed the gem in the second game. Vedo, now 3-2 this season, walked three and struck out eight as the Gauchos improved to 8-1 at home and 8-6 overall.
The lone Pack hit in the second game came with two outs in the ninth inning on a run-scoring double down the left field line by Joe Kohan. Kohan’s hit scored Anthony Rosa, who reached second on a one-out error, and cut the Gauchos lead to just 2-1.
Vedo, though, retired Brock Stassi on a ground out to short to end the game and preserve his one-hitter. The 6-foot-2 right-hander went seven innings and allowed just five hits to beat Louisiana-Lafayette in his last game on March 12.
The Pack didn’t have many opportunities to score against Vedo.
Vedo walked Tommy Niebergall, the first Pack hitter of the game, but immediately got Kohan to bounce into a double play. Vedo then hit Nick Melino with a pitch to start the second inning. Melino, though, was thrown out trying to steal second and Vedo got Brian Barnett and Garrett Yrigoyen to end the inning.
A one-out walk to Braden Shipley was wiped out when Curtis Frisbie rolled into an inning-ending double play in the sixth and Stassi walked with two outs in the seventh but was stranded when Vedo fanned Melino.
Vedo’s effort overshadowed an outstanding game by Pack righthander Tom Jameson. The sophomore went seven innings and allowed six hits and just one run while striking out eight.
Jameson, now 0-4, has turned his season around with his last two appearances. He had an earned run average of 21.86 after his first three games. The 6-7 right-hander, though, has allowed just 12 hits and two earned runs over his last 13 innings and two appearances to lower his ERA to 8.55.
Jameson’s eight strikeouts were also one more than he had over his first four starts (13 innings) combined.
The Gauchos’ only run off Jameson came in the first inning on back-to-back one-out doubles by Derek Eligio and Sean Williams. Jameson retired 19 of the final 25 hitters to face him before leaving the game after the seventh inning.
The Gauchos also added an important insurance run in the eighth on two hits and a walk off Pack reliever Tyler Rogstad.
The Pack also got a standout performance from first game starter Jeremy Cole.
Cole, now 0-2, turned in his longest outing of the year, going 5.1 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. The three strikeouts (two came in the first inning) were one more than he had in 11.2 innings coming into the game.
Santa Barbara put the first game away on a two-run double by shortstop Steven Moon in the sixth inning off Pack reliever Jayson McClaren. McClaren, though, pitched out of trouble in the seventh, getting Trevor Whyte to bounce into an inning-ending double play to keep the Pack close.
The Pack, now 1-8 on the road, did cut the Gauchos lead to just 3-2 with a pair of runs in the sixth. Barnett, who now has nine RBI this year, drove home both runs with a one-out double.
Santa Barbara relievers Zak Edgington, Bryce Uhrig and Greg Davis retired six of the final seven Pack hitters over the final two innings to secure the victory for starter Jesse Meaux (2-1). The Pack ended up getting just one hit over its final 11 innings on Saturday.
Stassi, who had two hits and a walk, drove home the final Pack run of the first game to cut the Gauchos lead to 5-3 in the seventh.
The Pack wasted a one-out double by Kohan in the first inning and by Shipley in the third inning. They also wasted a leadoff double by Hugo Hernandez in the fifth inning and a leadoff single by Stassi in the fourth.
The doubleheader loss also continued the Pack baseball team’s struggles in southern California. The Wolf Pack has now lost 23 of its last 24 games in southern California dating back to the start of the 2006 season. They are 0-8 in southern California this season.
The Wolf Pack is now 14-18 in its series with UC Santa Barbara. The two teams competed as members of the Big West Conference from 1993-2000. Saturday’s games were the first meetings between the Pack and Gauchos since the Pack’s final year in the Big West in 2000.
The 2-1 and 5-3 losses are the smallest margins of defeat this season for the Pack. The Pack lost its first nine games by an average of 6.8 runs.
The two teams will conclude this three-game series with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.