Barnett leads Wolf Pack over Sacramento State |

Barnett leads Wolf Pack over Sacramento State

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Brian Barnett now owns one of the most productive days for a Nevada Wolf Pack hitter this decade.

The former Western Nevada College player hit two home runs and drove in seven runs as the Wolf Pack trounced the Sacramento State Hornets 11-0 at Hornet Field on Sunday to win the final three games of this Western Athletic Conference series.

Barnett, in his first season for the Pack, drove in two runs with a triple in the top of the first inning as the Pack scored four quick runs. Barnett then drilled a two-run home run in the third inning and a three-run blast in the sixth in the seven-inning game.

The McQueen High graduate is now hitting .362 on the season with a team-high 13 home runs and 56 RBI.

Barnett became just the eighth Wolf Pack player to drive in seven or more runs in a game since the start of the 2000 season. The others to do it are Joe Inglett and Josh Laidlaw in 2000, Mike Hass in 2002, Shawn Scobee in 2006, Konrad Schmidt in 2007, Nick Leid in 2008 and Nick Melino in 2009.

Barnett’s seven RBI are also just one RBI short of the Pack record for a WAC game set by Hass against Hawaii in 2002 and Melino against Fresno State in 2009 with eight.

The convincing victory improved the Wolf Pack to 30-19-1 overall on the year and 11-8-1 in the WAC. The Pack has now won 30 or more games for the 16th time (all since 1989) in  Gary Powers’ 28 seasons as head coach.

The victory on Sunday also kept the Pack’s hopes alive for their first-ever WAC regular season championship. The Wolf Pack trails just Fresno State (32-22, 13-7) and New Mexico State (36-19-1, 14-9-1) in the WAC standings.

A four-game sweep over Louisiana Tech this weekend at Peccole Park in the final WAC series of the year will clinch at least second place in the conference for the Pack. Four victories by the Pack and no more than two by Fresno State next weekend in its home series against Sacramento State will give the Pack the WAC title.

Sacramento State, now 17-32-1 and 6-14 in the WAC, is two games behind San Jose State (20-32, 8-12) for the sixth and final spot in the WAC Tournament on May 26-30 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.

Brock Stassi pitched the complete-game shutout on Sunday to improve to 6-4 on the year. Stassi, who had made just two starts in the previous 27 days, allowed just three hits and now leads the Pack with a 3.43 earned run average.

Stassi’s gem is the fourth shutout and the seventh complete game by the Pack pitching staff this season. Stassi has three of the complete games.

Nick Melino extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a RBI single for a 1-0 Pack lead in the first inning. A Garrett Yrigoyen ground out in the first and a Cullen Mahoney single in the sixth produced the other two Pack RBI in the game.

The game was shortened to seven innings because of the WAC’s 10-run rule (in the seventh inning or later) in league games.

The Wolf Pack will play a non-league game Tuesday night ( 6p.m.) at Peccole Park against UC Davis before closing out the regular season starting Friday against Louisiana Tech.