Nevada baseball splits with Cal State Fullerton
RENO — On another miserable, windy day in which two solid teams were battling, the difference came down to little ball.
Bub Madrid’s sacrifice bunt turned out to be the difference in the University of Nevada’s winning rally in the completion of Friday’s suspended game on Saturday against No. 16 Cal State Fullerton. The sacrifice bunt led to three runs in the eighth inning that gave the Wolf Pack an 8-7 win.
But Nevada’s inability to move up a runner early in the nightcap came back to haunt the Wolf Pack as they lost the second game 5-4 at Peccole Park.
“I thought both teams played hard,” said Nevada coach Gary Powers about the two games. “I thought it was two pretty good teams playing in adverse conditions.”
Down 7-5 in the eighth in game one, Mike Gillies drew a leadoff walk and Craig Markel followed with a single. Madrid moved the runners up to second and third with his bunt.
“Those are the little things that make the difference in winning and losing baseball games,” Powers said.
After Jacob Butler walked, Matt Maguire’s two-run singled tied the score and JaRell McIntyre followed with an RBI double that proved to be the game-winner.
Nevada was able to come back thanks to the effort of winning pitcher Bryan Johnson, who allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings. Johnson came into the game in a tough situation, with the bases loaded and two outs and a one-ball count on the batter. But Johnson got the out to end the inning.
“He did a outstanding job coming in a tough situation,” Powers said.
Powers said Johnson demonstrated how his struggling bullpen should go after hitters.
“Our pitching staff needs to believe that if they just get aggressive in the strike zone, they can be successful,” Powers said.
Galena High’s Jeff Tolotti had two hits and an RBI single and Markel had two hits to lead Nevada.
But even though Nevada executed in the first game, Powers lamented the lack of execution in the second game. The Wolf Pack lost a chance to score in the second when they failed to move up McIntyre after he led off with a double.
The Wolf Pack took a 2-0 lead in the third when Markel, who had three hits, belted a two-run home run after Gillies reached on a bloop single.
But the lead was short-lived as the Titans reached Mateo Miramontes for five runs in the fourth, with the big blow coming on Richie Burgos’ two-run homer. Other than the fourth, Miramontes pitched a solid eight innings.
He worked out of a jam in the fifth in which Fullerton had runners at second and third with one out and in the seventh when Shane Costa led off with a double. Ryan Leake retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Nevada, though was shut down by Darric Merrell. “Mateo did an outstanding job,” Powers said.
“Merrell pitched his butt off the whole game. Both those kids went at each other.”
But Nevada rallied against Merrell in the ninth when McIntyre singled and Tony Cappuccilli hit a two-run homer. Gillies followed with a walk and Markel singled.
But Butler ended the game with a check swing roller back to Titan ace closer Chad Cordero.
Wolf Pack Notes: Fullerton had won 60 straight games when leading after seven innings before game one on Saturday. The last time the Titans lost when leading after seven innings also came against Nevada in May, 2000… Since the suspended game was finished, Carson High graduate Darrell Rasner ended up being charged with six earned runs through 4 2/3 innings. His earned run average rose from 1.26 to 2.27 and after striking out five on Friday, his school career mark for strikeouts rose to 245.