Marks is right on for Wolf Pack in 10-0 win over Hawaii | NevadaAppeal.com
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Marks is right on for Wolf Pack in 10-0 win over Hawaii

JOE SANTORO
For the Nevada Appeal

Troy Marks felt the pressure Friday night at Peccole Park.

“I’m not going to lie,” the Nevada Wolf Pack starting pitcher said. “I felt tons of pressure. We used almost our whole bullpen (in a 12-9 loss on Thursday night). I needed to go out there and do a good job.”

Marks gave the bullpen a much-needed night of rest, pitching a seven-inning 10-0 victory over the Hawaii Rainbows in front of 569 fans. The game was shortened to seven innings because of the Western Athletic Conference’s 10-run rule in league games after seven innings.

“Troy did a great job,” Pack first baseman Brock Stassi said. “He was keeping them off balance all night with a good, live fastball. He was pitching off his fastball all night.”

Marks turned in the Pack’s fourth shutout of the season, allowing just three hits along the way. The junior right-hander is now 2-3 this year with a 3.88 earned run average. He carried a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning.

“You know, every once in while our starting pitching goes out and shows its potential,” Pack coach Gary Powers said. “It’s games like this one that show why (Thursday night) was so disappointing. This is how our starting pitchers can pitch but they haven’t done it on a consistent basis.”

Marks, despite four walks, was consistent from start to finish. The Rainbows did load the bases with one out in the seventh on two singles and a hit by pitch but Powers went to the mound to straighten things out just in time.

“He came out there and told me to stop messing around,” Marks said. “I was getting a little tired and he wanted me to finish off this game so we wouldn’t have to use our bullpen.”

The Wolf Pack improved to 17-24 overall and 6-7 in the WAC with the victory. Hawaii dropped to 25-20, 10-4.

“He didn’t have the same focus that he had in the first six innings,” said Powers of Marks. “He was getting lazy out there. We needed him to end this game so we could save our bullpen.”

Marks did exactly that, striking out pinch-hitter Matt Harrison and getting center fielder Breland Almadova to fly out to center to end the game.

“Those last two guys, I knew I just had to attack the zone with fastballs,” said Marks, who struck out four.

The Wolf Pack’s seven pitchers on Thursday combined to walk eight and allow 15 hits.

“I wasn’t happy with all of my walks,” marks said. “Coach Powers expects us to go out there and throw strikes. When you walk a guy, you can hear him getting angry in the dugout. And he should be angry.

“When our starting pitching is consistent, we have a real good chance to win the game with the way our hitters are swinging the bats lately.”

The Pack gave Marks a 3-0 lead in the third inning as Braden Shipley singled home Garrett Yrigoyen and Stassi singled in Carlos Escobar and Shipley.

Shipley, who has driven in seven runs in the first two games of this four-game series, brought home Yrigoyen and Escobar in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.

“I’m just feeling real relaxed at the plate lately,” said Shipley, who is now hitting .253 this year. “I’ve been fortunate to be up there with men on base and luckily the hits are falling in for me this weekend. That doesn’t happen every weekend.”

Brian Barnett doubled in Stassi and Hugo Hernandez singled in Barnett for a 7-0 lead in the fifth. Joe Kohan (double), Stassi (triple) and Barnett (single) all had RBI in the sixth to make it 10-0 and set up the 7-inning victory.

Stassi had three more hits and now leads all WAC hitters with a .462 average in league games (.364 overall).

“You know, I don’t even know what I’m hitting,” said the senior left-hander, who will pitch one of the games in today’s doubleheader at Peccole Park (1 p.m. start). “I don’t look at things like that during the season. I just always try to stay level-headed, whether I’m going good or not.”

Barnett also had a big night with three hits and a pair of RBI and is now hitting .280. His seventh-inning single made it 10-0 and moved the Pack to within three outs of a victory.

“Once we got that 10th run I knew I had a lot of pressure on me to get it done,” smiled Marks. “I told some of the guys I felt more pressure in the seventh with a 10-0 lead than I did in the first inning.”