Pack walks all over New Mexico State, stays alive
For the Nevada Appeal
The Nevada Wolf Pack walked all over the New Mexico State Aggies Thursday afternoon.
The Wolf Pack worked 13 walks off six Aggies’ pitchers and cruised to a 15-4 victory in seven innings to stay alive in the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona.
The Pack, now 24-30, will play again Friday at 11 a.m. against either Hawaii, Louisiana Tech or Fresno State. The Wolf Pack must win five consecutive games over the next three days to win the tournament and earn the WAC’s automatic NCAA regional spot.
“I know exactly what they were going through,” Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers told 630-AM after the game, referring to the Aggies’ 13 walk. “I know how hard that is and how frustrating that is. We’ve been through that before ourselves. But I’m not going to feel sorry for them. Nobody felt sorry for us when it was happening to us.”
The Pack took out all of its frustrations after Wednesday’s tournament-opening 5-4 loss to San Jose State with six first-inning runs against the Aggies. New Mexico State, which ends its season at 34-24, lost its tournament opener on Wednesday, 9-3, to Louisiana Tech.
New Mexico State starter Tyler Mack walked four of the first five Wolf Pack hitters. Nick Melino and Braden Shipley also had two-run doubles in the inning as the Pack gave starter Tom Jameson a 6-0 lead before he even stepped out on the mound.
Michael Turay also had a RBI single as the Aggies needed three pitchers to get through the first inning.
Shipley, who had three hits and a walk, drilled his double off the left field wall with the bases loaded.
“Braden has done a real nice job,” said Powers of his freshman shortstop. “He’s getting better and better offensively for us.”
Jameson, though, also struggled with his control. The two teams combined for an alarming total of 18 walks in just seven innings as Jameson issued five free passes.
“Tom struggled with his consistency,” Powers said. “Our defense was a little disappointing (four errors) but part of that was because Tom was struggling. But Tom pitched through that and that was good to see.”
New Mexico State, thanks to the five walks and four Pack errors, had base runners all afternoon against Jameson. But the sophomore right-hander, who allowed seven hits in his seven innings, kept pitching out of trouble.
Jameson, who allowed just one hit in eight innings in a WAC tournament victory over Louisiana Tech a year ago, got key strikeouts to end the first, second and third innings with two runners on base each time. Jameson also got Zac Fisher to fly out to center with the bases loaded to end the fourth and Wesley Starkes to fly out to right with two runners on base to end the game in the seventh.
The 15 runs are the most in a game for the Pack since an 18-1 victory over Louisiana Tech on May 22, 2010 and the most for the Pack in a WAC tournament game since a 15-5 win over Sacramento State in 2008 at Ruston, La.
It was definitely a day of superlatives for the Pack.
The 13 walks are the most by Wolf Pack hitters in a game since UNLV walked 15 Pack hitters on April 1, 2008 in a 23-1 Nevada victory at Peccole Park. The Pack also scored its most runs in an inning (eight in the sixth) since it scored nine in one inning in a 22-0 victory over Seattle on April 17, 2010.
Waylen Sing Chow got the big hit in the sixth, a three-run triple for a 14-2 lead. Sing Chow, the Pack’s leadoff hitter, also walked twice.
“That was a big hit for us,” Powers said. “We’ve been leaving a lot of runners on base and he certainly made up for it.”
Sing Chow’s triple and the RBI single by Joe Kohan that followed it allowed the Pack to end the game after seven innings because of the WAC’s 10-run rule in league contests.
“That was big for us because it allowed us to save some pitching,” said Powers.