Nevada scores 40 runs in doubleheader sweep
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Cal-State Monterey Bay’s pitching staff was just what the doctor ordered for the anemic Nevada offense.
Nevada entered the game with a 1-5 record and a .244 averaged. Nearly five hours later, the team had improved to 3-5 and raised its team average by a whopping 80 points after a 40-run, 43-hit effort en route to a doubleheader sweep Tuesday afternoon at Peccole Park.
Freshman Nick Leid drove in seven runs, and Matt Bowman and Shaun Kort collected five hits apiece to lead Nevada to a 24-7 win in the opener. In the seven-inning nightcap, Dan Eastham and three relievers combined on a seven-hit shutout, and David Ciarlo went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs in the 16-0 win.
The 24 runs were the most since Nevada scored 27 against Louisiana Tech during the 2004 season in Ruston.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for us,” said Bowman, who went 6-for-7 on the day with six RBI and his first homer. “It’s nice to see us hit like we’re capable of doing. I seem to start slow at the plate.”
“We weren’t concerned,” said Ciarlo, who raised his average to .615 and has hit safely in all seven games. “We were facing good (pitching) staffs. I know the guys will eventually get it going.”
Nevada coach Gary Powers was thrilled with the offensive output, and what coach wouldn’t be. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of it was the team’s approach at the plate. He also was pleased to see Bowman and Kort swing the bat well, and that Ciarlo continues to thrive.
“I was pleased with the fact our hitters did a good job of going with the pitch,” Powers said. “Most of the balls we hit were either to the middle of the field or the opposite way. They did a nice job.
“They (Bowman and Kort) were trying to do too much. They were trying to win games with every swing. Ciarlo has taken a lot better approach the last two or three weeks. He started (improving) at the end of last year.”
And, he’s doing it from the No. 9 hole.
“I don’t care where I hit; the nine hole or the two hole,” Ciarlo said.
If there was a negative on the day it was the first-game starting effort of Mario Rivera, who was staked to a quick 4-0 lead thanks to a solo homer by Bowman and a three-run shot by Leid, but quickly gave up five second-inning runs as Nevada fell behind for the only time during the day.
“He looked out of sync,” Powers said.
Nevada bounced back with six in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth for a 17-5 lead. Kort contributed a two-run single and Leid a two-run triple in the second. Jason Sadoian, Bowman and Kort delivered run-scoring hits in the third. In the fourth, Ciarlo had a run-scoring double, Sadoian a sacrifice fly, Kort a run-scoring single and Bowman a run-scoring double.
Bowman drove in four runs and Kort drove in five runs with a career-best five hits. Bowman was a triple short of the cycle.
Despite the impressive offensive barrage, the unsung hero in the first game might have been middle reliever Bryan Suarez, who allowed a run and a hit in three innings to pick up his first win of the season.
“I just tried to go out there and throw strikes, and let the defense do the job,” Suarez said. “You’re more relaxed (in that situation). You don’t have to worry about anything; just do the job.
“Coach (Stan) Stolte told me to throw strikes and pound it like a mule.”
Powers agreed that Suarez stabilized the game.
“Bryan did a good job,” Powers said. “He threw strikes down in the strike zone.”
The 40-minute break between games didn’t cool off the Pack hitters at all.
Sadoian led off the bottom of the first with a homer off starter/loser Norman Hebert, and then the Pack exploded for seven runs in the second, all off Hebert, whose knuckleball didn’t faze Pack hitters.
After Mike Hale walked and Kevin Rodland was hit by a pitch, Tyson Jaquez hit a knuckleball up the middle to score Hale. Ciarlo followed with another run-scoring single, and after Sadoian flied to right, Bowman hit a run-scoring single down the line in right to score Ciarlo and Jaquez for a 5-0 lead. Jason Rodriguez waked and Kort followed with a three-run homer off a knuckleball to make it 8-0.
Nevada added four in the third, two coming on a Rodriguez single, and then tacked on three more in the fourth, two of them on a homer by Eastham, which gave Nevada a 15-0 lead.
Eastham threw the first four innings for Nevada, allowing four hits and striking out two. The Otters got a runner to third and two to second in that span.
“He was outstanding,” Powers said. “He kept the ball down in the zone and got ahead of hitters. When a leadoff hitter got on, he was able to work himself out of trouble.”
“I was hoping to go longer, but they shut me down in case they need me over the weekend,” said Eastham, who pitched for the Nevada Bighorns out of Carson City last summer. “I threw fastballs and curves. I made a couple of mistakes that they got hits on.”
Ryan Iodence, Sammy Miller and Brock Stassi, all newcomers to the pitching staff, each threw an inning of scoreless relief. Miller and Iodence have yet to give up a run in five combined apearances, and Stassi lowered his ERA to 1.50.