Nevada baseball beats Saint Mary’s
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Nevada won its fourth straight game Tuesday afternoon, and Chris Siewert has played a big role in the Wolf Pack’s latest streak.
Siewert went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs and played an errorless game at shortstop to spark Nevada, 14-12, to a 7-3 nonconference win over Saint Mary’s College at Peccole Park.
The win, besides being the fourth straight overall, was Nevada’s ninth straight at home. It also snapped Saint Mary’s College’s 14-game unbeaten streak and dropped the Gaels to 16-9-1 overall.
Siewert has been hitting ninth in the order the past five games, and he’s 4-for-12 in that span with seven RBI. Nobody likes hitting ninth, but Siewert appears to be comfortable in that role.
“I’ve been struggling the past couple of weeks, and I worked with the coaches trying to figure some things out,” Siewert said. “Right now, I’m starting to feel good.”
Siewert’s infield single was the Pack’s only hit through the first four innings, as SMC starter Alex Jensen faced only one batter over the minimum. The Gaels’ Randy Wells hit a 2-run homer to break a scoreless tie in the top of the third.
Nevada finally broke loose in the fifth, scoring five times and sending 10 batters to the plate.
Shaun Kort singled, Baker Krukow was hit by a pitch and David Ciarlo walked to load the bases with one out. Siewert followed with a hard groundball to the right of second base that skipped off the glove of Wells, scoring Kort and Krukow to tie the game at 2. Trevor O’ Sullivan singled home Ciarlo for a 3-2 lead and Jason Sadoian doubled in Siewert to make it 4-2. The final run of the inning scored on Jason Rodriguez’s infield out.
“He (Jensen) threw well,” Siewert said. “As the game moved along, we stayed with our same approach at the plate. He threw his change-up for strikes. We were out in front. We started staying back better and hitting some balls the other way.”
Nevada coach Gary Powers certainly likes the offense he’s getting from Siewert, but he also appreciates his glovework.
“He’s done a nice job,” Powers said. “He’s really improved consistency-wise defensively. He’s made some very nice plays, and that helps our defense a lot.
“He’s starting to see the ball better. He’s been working all the time on things. He’s seeing better pitches to hit. Sometimes he’s been over agressive and you swing at everything they are throwing.”
Another guy who has come on of late, Matt Suleski, figured prominently in Nevada’s final two runs.
In the sixth, Terry Walsh walked, was balked to second, moved to third on Suleski’s single and scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.
After SMC cut the lead to 6-3 on a Joel Staples homer, Nevada struck back with a run of its own. Walsh doubled to the gap in right-center field, moved to third on Suleski’s single to left and scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Mike Hale.
Suleski, who went 6-for-9 against Utah Valley State, is now 8 for his last 13 and raised his average to .457.
“It (recent success) feels good,” Suleski said. “I’m finally staying within myself and not trying to do too much. I’m just trying to stay consistent. I don’t try to do things that I can’t do – like hit bombs. I’m trying to hit line drives.
“I’ve been working with coach Powers on my grip and stance. I’m being real simple at the plate, and it seems to be working.”
Powers said this was the type of hitting Suleski showed during the fall before injuring his hamstring right before the season.
“He struggled all last year,” Powers said. “He got hurt in January, and now he’s finally healthy. He got off to a slow start (because of the injury). He’s provided a little spark.”
No doubt Powers will go with the hot hitters, so Suleski knows and undertsands that he needs to produce when given the opportunity.
While the offense had just the one big inning, Nevada’s pitching was solid. Jarad Mitchell picked up his first career win by throwing two scoreless inning (the 5th and 6th), and Kody Keroher retired four of the final five batters he faced to notch his third save of the season.
The other five pitchers – Matt Renfree, Mitchell, Jacob Kaup, Jordan Salazar and Keroher – allowed one run, zero walks and six hits. Kaup, who threw one inning, lowerd his ERA to 1.04 over 17 innings. Mitchell has yet to be scored on in his foure appearances.
“I wanted to give thye bullpen a chance to get an inning (or so) in,” Powers said. “Jarad Mitchell threw very well in the middle of the game. It was good to see Matt Renfree be the guy he has become this year, and Keroher did a nice job finishing up. We walked only one batter all game, and that’s very important.”
Renfree, who gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning against Utah Valley State last weekend, worked two hitless innings.
“A lot better,” Renfree uttered after the game. “My mechanics were really bad. I was opening up (too much). I threw on flat ground and tried to stay closed. I wasn’t thinking about that (last outing) at all. I was just waiting for my next opportunity. I got some groundballs, and the defense played well behind me.”