Bulldogs sweep Nevada baseball
RENO — One inning typified the University of Nevada baseball team’s season on Saturday.
In the second game of a doubleheader against Fresno State, Nevada was trailing 3-2 in the fifth inning when it had the bases loaded and one out. But much like it has done all year, the Wolf Pack failed to score and Fresno State went on to win 8-5, finishing off a sweep of Nevada at Peccole Park. The Bulldogs (28-24, 15-8 in the Western Athletic Conference) won the opener 5-1.
It was the Ben Fritz show again as he has tortured Nevada this season. He was the winning pitcher in game one, allowing four hits through 7 2/3 innings. He also doubled twice in the game.
In the nightcap, Fritz hit two two-run home runs. In the series between the Bulldogs and Nevada in Fresno, Fritz was the winning pitcher in a 1-0 victory, striking out 15 and driving in the game’s only run.
It’s not much of a consolation, but at least the Wolf Pack only struck out five times against Fritz on Saturday. Bob Runyon was the winning pitcher in the nightcap after providing eight solid innings.
“Those two guys are two of the top pitchers in the league,” said Nevada’s Chris Gimenez, who homered and had two hits in the nightcap.
But as Gimenez and Nevada coach Gary Powers see it, the Wolf Pack’s problems were due more to themselves than to Fritz and Runyon.
“I think we could have battled a little bit more,” Gimenez said. “There were some at bats that could have turned the game.”
The Wolf Pack let several scoring chances slip away and made four costly errors in the doubleheader.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t do better,” Powers said. “I thought we had a chance to win both of those games. We can’t make the routine play, we can’t make the catch when we need to.”
The fifth inning of the nightcap was a killer. Gimenez had homered to pull Nevada to within 3-2. Bub Madrid was hit by a pitch, Mike Hass reached on a bunt single and Mike Gillies reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out.
But Tony Cappuccilli, who had homered to bring Nevada to within 2-1 when he homered in the fourth, looked at a fastball right down the middle at the knees on a 3-2 count. Jeff Tolotti then struck out swinging to end the inning.
“In my opinion it’s an attitude thing,” Powers said. “That means you’re not ready to hit in those situations and it’s been happening over and over again. Ben Fritz and Bob Runyon are very good pitchers, but we had our chances.”
With the loss, Nevada ensured that Powers’ streak of eight straight 30-win seasons at the school will come to an end. The Wolf Pack are 21-28 (7-16 in the WAC) with eight games left.
Carson High graduate Darrell Rasner will start for Nevada in today’s 1 p.m. game, returning for the first time after being hit by a line drive against San Jose State more than two weeks ago.
“Definitely that’s a big boost for us,” Gimenez said. “He’s our ace, he’s the guy that leads our team. We’ll take him when we can get him.”
But Powers said it will take more than Rasner to win today’s game.
“I hope the nine other guys give the same kind of effort that I know he’s going to give us,” Powers said.
Mateo Miramontes gave Nevada a solid effort in the opener, allowing four earned runs in eight innings. David Woods pitched a scoreless ninth for the Wolf Pack.
But Nevada could only muster a run in the fourth when Taylor Pullins doubled and scored on an error. Mike Gillies doubled and JaRell McIntyre, Craig Markel and Matt Maguire added hits for Nevada.
James Holcomb allowed just one hit through the first five innings in the nightcap. But that hit was a two-run homer by Fritz. Fresno State took a 3-1 lead in the fifth after an error and a perfectly executed suicide bunt by Joey Myers.
Another two-run homer by Fritz gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead in the sixth. After Fresno State extended its lead to 7-2 in the seventh, Nevada cut the lead to 7-4 in the eighth.
Gillies singled and scored on Chris Dickerson’s double. Dickerson scored on McIntyre’s single. Gimenez was then hit by a pitch, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Markel grounded out to end the inning.
Hass doubled and scored on Cappuccilli’s double in the ninth for the final margin. Cappuccilli, Hass and Gillies all had two hits for Nevada. Craig Norris allowed one unearned run over the last three innings.