Nevada snaps six game losing streak with 21-5 win over San Francisco
RENO — Wins are nothing to scoff at, especially for the University of Nevada baseball team.
“This team has been through some tough times,” said coach Gary Powers. “It (this season) has been a grind. There’s been a lot of things we’ve had to overcome.”
For once, though, it wasn’t the opponent.
George Moran won his first game of the season and the freshman trio of Chris Gimenez, Jacob Butler and Bub Madrid went 6-for-13 with eight runs scored as the Wolf Pack snapped a six-game losing streak with a 21-5 win over San Francisco on Tuesday at Peccole Park.
“Look at those three freshmen kids who hit at the end of the order (Nos. 7, 8, 9),” Powers explained. “If we can get that kind of production, there may be light at the end of the tunnel in the future.”
Does that mean the Wolf Pack, who improved to 17-22, are throwing in the towel for the season?
“I’m not giving up on this team,” said Moran, a senior. “I know we can get 15, 16 wins.”
That’s probably what it will take for Nevada, which has only 18 games left on its schedule, to even have a chance at the postseason. The Dons, who fell to 10-35, would just like the season to end. The 21 runs scored by the Wolf Pack was the fourth time this season a team has scored 20 or more runs against them. San Francisco led only briefly, 3-1, before a nine-run third inning put Nevada ahead for good.
Moran, who hadn’t won in 12 appearances coming into the game, gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. The most impressive number, however, was that he only walked two batters. He was walking 1.57 batters per inning.
“I was fine. I could’ve thrown some more,” said Moran, who threw 82 pitches. “I was glad to be out there. It was good to get a win for everybody. When you have confidence in the defense behind you, it makes pitching so much easier. I didn’t really have great stuff. It was pretty much fast ball, fast ball.”
That was good enough against the Dons, who had 12 hits, but never put together a big inning. Joe Jacobitz, a former Carson Capitol, hit a solo homer in the the fifth that made it 13-4 and had an RBI single in the ninth to finish the scoring.
The 21 runs were the most runs scored by Nevada this season. Its previous high was a 19, set against Cal-State Northridge in February.
San Francisco used five pitchers in the game, but none of them could figure out the Wolf Pack lineup. Mike Hass and Mike Gillies both went 3-for-3. Butler, who went 3-for-5, fell a single short of hitting for the cycle, but finished with six RBIs. Hass, Curtis Wickwire and Craig Markel all had multiple RBIs games. In all, the Wolf Pack had 21 hits.
Powers said his team needed a game like this going into this weekend’s three-game series with San Jose State at Peccole Park. Mostly, for confidence.
“Without a doubt,” Powers said. “I was proud of them today. They came out and played hard for nine innings.”
WOLF PACK NOTEBOOK
FORMER CAPITOL, DUST DEVIL DOING WELL FOR DONS
Joe Jacobitz, a sophomore catcher at San Francisco, didn’t take long to establish himself as one of the West Coast Conference’s most dangerous hitters. The two-time Carson Capitol transferred from UNLV to the Dons after last season and leads the team in hitting with a .404 average.
Jacobitz, who went 2-for-5 in Tuesday’s loss to Nevada, hit his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning off George Moran. Jacobitz said that once former Rebels’ coach Rod Soesbe was replaced by Jim Schlossnagle over the summer, the decision to transfer was simple.
“I thought it was a pretty good move,” said Jacobitz, who was a honorable mention All-America at UNLV. “They had a coaching change, so I came back home. He (USF coach Nino Giarratono) recruited me a lot out of high school, so I’m happy with my decision. He’s a real bright coach.”
Meanwhile, Dons’ senior Jeremy Kinney, a Dayton High grad, is also having a productive season. Kinney, a senior, pitched one inning of relief on Tuesday, giving up one run and one hit. Kinney, who is 1-4 this season, has an ERA of 6.54 in 16 appearances.
GOING, GOING, GONE
Nevada’s four home runs against the Dons were the most it’s hit in a game this season at Peccole Park. Mike Hass’ lead off homer in the bottom of the third ignited a nine-run inning that brought the Wolf Pack back from a 3-1 deficit to a 10-3 lead. It was Hass’ eighth homer when leading off an inning in 12 appearances in his Nevada career. Curtis Wickwire’s three-run homer in the sixth made it 19-4. Six of Wickwire’s nine hits this season have been home runs, but he still trails Galena High grad Jeff Tolotti for the team lead (7).
Reno High’s David Woods came into the game in the ninth inning and gave up three hits and one earned run. Woods, who wasn’t even expected to contribute much as a freshman for Nevada, has now made eight appearances out of the bullpen.
“It’s definitely different because if you miss your location, they’re going to hit it a long way. In high school, you can throw it anywhere.”