Nevada explodes in rout of UNLV
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – There is no place like home for the Nevada baseball team.
Of the Wolf Pack’s 14 wins this season, 12 have come at Peccole Park, including Tuesday’s 23-1 thumping of arch-rival UNLV.
Nevada is 12-5 at home, and it’s critical that the Pack maintain that dominance at home if it has any post-season plans.
The 23-run outburst was more than Nevada had scored in its last five games combined, and the 17 hits was pleasing to coach Gary Powers, who shifted the batting order around some. Not only did Powers like the amount of hits, but he liked the team’s approach at the plate.
“We’d been struggling offensively, so we moved some people around,” Powers said. “Usually when teams are struggling offensively, they either take too many pitches or swing at bad pitches, and we’ve been swinging at bad pitches.
“This team has to find a way to win on the road. We just don’t play well on the road (2-5). I think our preparation is the same. We have to get the job done the next two weeks and get back in the swing of things.”
The UNLV pitching staff made Nevada’s job much easier. Nevada had 15 walks and three hit batsmen, and 13 of those runners scored.
“It was good to pick up some runs today,” said Jason Rodriguez, who collected two hits and drove in four runs. “Four was the most we scored (in any one game) last week. It was nice to get back on track.
“They (UNLV pitchers) were all over the place. They were not throwing strikes at all.”
Nevada scored a run in the first without the benefit of a hit off UNLV starter Steve Rinaudo, who walked two and hit a batter. Jason Sadoian drew the first of his four walks and eventually scored on Rodriguez’s infield roller to second base.
The Pack knocked Rinaudo from the box in the second, scoring five times on just three hits to take a 6-0 lead.
David Ciarlo doubled and moved to third on Travis Simas’ infield out. Kevin Rodland walked, and then he and Ciarlo pulled off a double steal, Ciarlo scoring without a throw. After Sadoian walked, Stephen Singer came on to pitch.
Singer couldn’t find the plate either, walking Mike Hale to load the bases. Dayton’s Matt Bowman followed with a two-run single to left-center field to make it 4-0. Rodriguez followed with a double, scoring Bowman and Hale. Singer retired Terry Walsh and Shaun Kort to end the inning.
Meanwhile, freshman left-hander Brock Stassi retired six of the first seven hitters he faced in his starting debut. Stassi threw 58 pitches and scattered five hits in his four-inning stint to pick up his first collegiate win.
Stassi gave up the Rebels’ only run in the fourth after Jarred Frierson doubled and scored on Bryan Resnick’s sinking liner to left that Bowman made a great diving attempt to catch, but it went off his glove.
Nevada got that run back and more in the bottom of the fourth, scoring seven times after two outs.
Singer got two quick outs before giving up an infield hit to Bowman, who stole second and scored on a run-scoring single to right by Rodriguez that made it 7-1. A single by Walsh and a walk to Kort loaded the bases and brought seldom-used Jon Birds into the game.
Birds hit two batters and walked two batters to score four more runs before Hale delivered a two-run single to right to make it 13-1.
Stassi’s performance was critical. Nevada has struggled with the third and fourth spots in its weekend starting rotation, and the freshman may have pitched his way into a weekend start.
“Right now we have (Rod) Scurry and (Kyle) Howe,” Powers said. “We’ll see where we are on Saturday afternoon and Sunday (against New Mexico State).
“He (Stassi) gave us a solid four innings. He hadn’t had a chance to start yet. If he can go out there and throw three pitches for strikes like he did today we’ll have to consider it.”
Stassi was politically correct after his successful outing.
“I just got ahead with the fastball,” he said. “I tried to throw as many first-pitch strikes as a I could so I could stay ahead in the count.
“It (starting) is all up to coach Powers. It doesn’t matter. I’d just like to play and pitch as much as I can. If coach thinks I can help more in the bullpen then I’m happy staying in the bullpen.”
Five pitchers followed Stassi to the mound, and the group allowed three hits over the final five innings. Sammy Miller was perhaps the most impressive, striking out the side in his only inning.
Notes: Nevada used 25 of its 33 players in the game. Garrett Patterson was the only position player that didn’t get into the game … Ex-Carson star Aaron Henry showed his speed when he tripled into the gap in right-center field. It was the only triple of the game … All 23 of Nevada’s runs were earned, as the Rebels made just one error.