Wolf Pack finishes swep on Seatlle
For the Nevada Appeal
Nick Melino just might have wiped away six weeks of frustration with one swing Saturday afternoon at Peccole Park.
Melino, hitting just .235 going into the game, drilled a one-out, game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Nevada Wolf Pack rallied for a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Seattle Redhawks in front of 617 fans.
“Nick is coming around,” Pack coach Gary Powers said of his sophomore outfielder.
Melino’s single scored pinch-runner Jamison Rowe with the game-winning run. Shaun Kort started the rally with a one-out walk and went to third on a throwing error by Seattle second baseman Eric Yardley on a ground ball off the bat of Brock Stassi.
Melino, who hit .352 last season, went 1-for-13 to start this season. The preseason All-Western Athletic Conference selection at designated hitter, though, had three hits on Saturday and is now hitting .282. He has 10 hits in his last 26 at-bats (.385).
“He hadn’t been going as good as he would have liked this year but he’s getting better all the time,” said Powers of Melino. “And that’s good to see.”
Also good to see for the Pack was a come-from-behind victory to complete a three-game series sweep over the struggling Redhawks. The Pack, now 15-11, had to overcome a 4-2 deficit in the sixth inning to beat the Redhawks. Seattle is just 3-20 in its first season of baseball since 1986.
The Redhawks, though, took a 4-2 lead with three unearned runs in the second inning. Pack starter Jeremy Cole also walked in a run in the inning and allowed a two-run, two-out double to Doug Buser.
“Jeremy was all over the place (with his control),” Powers said. “He just never got in a rhythm or felt comfortable out there. But it’s to his credit that he kept battling and battling and gave us a chance to win when he didn’t have his good stuff.”
Cole went six innings, walked three and allowed four hits and one earned run.
The Pack tied the game on Kevin Rodland’s two-run home run in the sixth inning. Joe Kohan, who reached first on an error by Seattle third baseman Bryndon Ecklund to open the inning, also scored on Rodland’s sixth homer of the year.
“That was huge,” Powers said.
Pack reliever Tyler Graham also came up big. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior pitched the final three innings for his second victory (2-3) of the year. Graham was perfect, retiring nine Seattle hitters in a row, striking out two and not allowing a base runner.
Graham has now appeared in eight games this year and has either a victory (two), loss (three) or save (three) in each game.
“If Tyler hadn’t come in and done his job as well as he did, it might have been a different story today,” Powers said.
Graham entered a tied game (4-4) in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and no outs. He struck out Josh Kutz for the first out, got Steve Kirbach to ground out to third for the second out (a force at home) and got Phil Parrish to ground out to end the threat.
Kutz, Kirbach and Parrish are all hitting under .200 this year.
“Tyler was nails today for three innings,” Powers said.
The Wolf Pack will next be in action Tuesday night (6:05 p.m.) in an exhibition game against the Reno Aces at Aces Ballpark in downtown Reno. The Pack announced Saturday that Monday’s game (2:30 p.m.) against UC Davis has been rescheduled for April 20 (6 p.m.).
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