Nevada rolls to win against Fresno St. | NevadaAppeal.com
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Nevada rolls to win against Fresno St.

DARRELL MOODY

RENO – The University of Nevada is on a four-game winning streak, and Brian Gazzero returned to the squad after missing 16 games. All is right in Nevada’s world these days.

Gazzero, batting leadoff, went 1-for-3 and scored three runs, and Travis Sutton pitched eight innings of four-hit baseball to lead Nevada to a 20-2 Western Athletic Conference victory Friday at Peccole Park.

“It’s good to be back,” said Gazzero, who missed the aforementioned 16 games because of the illness and death of his mother from cancer. “My teammates have been great to me.

“My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1982. We thought it was gone, but it came back in December. She was in pain all the time. I saw her in mid-February, and it was bad.”

Gazzero returned to Reno on Easter, and started hitting the next day. He knew he would be starting, but didn’t know he would be batting leadoff. He did a great job of setting the table by reaching base five times.

“He’s such a spark to our team,” outfielder Chris Gimenez said. “Just having him back makes everybody happy. We’re playing for him, and his mom is up there helping us out.”

“If he’s changed, he’s covering it up real well,” said Sutton, who improved to 6-3. “He’s a great guy and a heck of a baseball player. We’re glad he’s back.”

With Nevada down 2-0, Gazzero didn’t waste any time making his presence felt, singling to right field in the first. He moved to second on Jacob Butler’s single and scored on a throwing error when Fresno State botched a pickoff attempt. Gimenez singled home Butler, whose single stretched his hitting streak to 13 games. An error accounted for the inning’s third run.

The Wolf Pack exploded for nine runs and six hits in the second, sending 12 batters to the plate against starter/loser David Griffin and reliever Toby Girazian to take a commanding 12-2 lead.

Robert Macial (4-for-5) singled and Gazzero walked. Brett Hayes (3-for-5) doubled home Marcial, and Butler walked. Ben Mummy, who went 3-for-3, singled home Gazzero and Hayes. After Gimenez was hit by a pitch, Carson grad Joe Mercer delivered a two-run double off the fence in center. A balk, a fielder’s choice by Marcial and a single by Bub Madrid accounted for the rest of the runs.

That was more than enough for Sutton, who pitched a superb game. After allowing a first-inning two-run homer to Richie Robnett, he blanked the Bulldogs on two hits over the next seven innings. At one point, he retired 15 of 17 batters. Impressive when you consider the wind was blowing out all day to left field.

“I was just keeping the ball down,” said Sutton, who threw 118 pitches. “That was a very good team. I just wanted to keep the ball down and let the team behind me play defense. I never want to come out, but Chris (Scott) needed some work.”

“His outing was as good as it possibly could be with the wind blowing out,” Nevada coach Gary Powers said. “After the homer he really beared down and showed his intensity. He did a tremendous job keeping them in check.”

And, Sutton thinks the team is on its way back.

“The team is coming together,” he said. “Everybody is swinging it well, and our pitchers are starting to throw better.”

That’s certainly a good recipe for success.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.