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Nevada baseball defeats Saint Mary’s

DARRELL MOODY

RENO – Nevada hitters took their weekend of frustration out on Saint Mary’s College Tuesday afternoon.

The Wolf Pack, after being shut down by Rice last weekend, pounded four homers, two by designated hitter Ben Mummy, en route to an 8-3 victory over the Gaels in a nonconference baseball game at Peccole Park.

Nevada improved to 15-17 overall, and gives the Wolf Pack some momentum entering Thursday’s WAC series against Louisiana Tech.

“The last time we played these guys, we were as bad as you could possibly get,” Nevada coach Gary Powers said. “I was concerned about that, especially after three lopsided losses (to Rice). Today we had focus. We came out and played with good intensity.”

“It was definitely a nice win, especially going into the weekend (vs. Louisiana Tech),” Mummy said. “We had that (loss to Saint Mary’s) on our minds. It was a day of redemption.”

And, it spoiled the homecoming of first-year Saint Mary’s head coach Jed Soto, who coached under Powers in 1997. Soto led Feather River College to three straight Golden Valley Conference league titles before heading to SMC and Division I baseball.

“Tuesday games are tough for us,” Soto said. “We roll out pitchers who haven’t pitched a lot of innings. We also missed some opportunities that we should have capitalized on.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the first inning.

Saint Mary’s loaded the bases on a single and two walks against Nevada starter Chris Scott, who wiggled out of the jam by retiring Sam Carter on an infield roller to short.

Nevada scored once in the first off Chris Sloan, but should have had much more.

Robert Marcial doubled and Sloan walked Brett Hayes and Jacob Butler to load the bases with no outs. Ex-Carson star Joe Mercer grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, scoring Marcial. The Wolf Pack re-loaded the bases, but Sloan fanned Erick Streelman to end the inning.

Nevada extended its lead to 4-0 in the third when Mercer slammed a leadoff triple off the fence in right-center field and scored on the first of two homers by Mummy. Sloan retired Chris Gimenez on an infield roller, but gave up a homer to Streelman, his fourth of the year.

The Wolf Pack continued to play long ball in the next two innings. Jacob Butler pounded a homer to left in the fourth off Sloan to make it 5-0, and Mummy connected for another homer, this time off reliever Justin Albrecht, to make it 6-2. Mummy said he had a two-homer game two summers ago.

“He (Mummy) is a good hitter,” Powers said. “He finally got the ball in the air. He’s been putting it into the dirt or popping it up. He’s got good power.”

The Gaels closed to 6-3 on Preston Young’s run-scoring triple. The Wolf Pack averted further damage on a fine play at second by Bub Madrid.

Saint Mary’s collected six hits in the final three innings, but came up empty. All told, the Gaels left 14 runners on compared to 10 for the Wolf Pack.

Powers used seven pitches, and although Brandon Gottier allowed two runs and two hits in 1/3 of an inning, Scott, Ryan Harbaugh and Brandon Evans all pitched two scoreless innings.

“I thought the guys went to the mound and acted like they had a purpose,” Powers said. “They did a good job and threw strikes.”

Notes: Nevada will send Travis Sutton to the mound on Thursday against Louisiana Tech, and Powers is unsure of Friday’s starter… Streelman is finally over .200 (.213) after a homer and single.