Sacramento State snaps UNR’s three-game streak with 14-4 win
RENO — It was sunny. It was a Tuesday. It was a game following a three-game series. It was all bad news for the University of Nevada baseball team.
“I love these Tuesday games,” Nevada coach Gary Powers joked. “We were asleep out there. The sun was massaging our brains.”
Sacramento State, a team the Wolf Pack beat 14-1 on March 4, returned the favor yesterday at Peccole Park as six players had multi-hit games in a 14-4 win over Nevada in front of 954 fans.
The Wolf Pack (17-16 overall, 8-2 WAC) is only 1-3 in games this season that follow three-game series. But it’s not only losing their last two Tuesday games that remains peculiar, but how they have lost.
After a three-game WAC road sweep over Hawai’i, Nevada lost to 17-8 to the University of Pacific on March 25. Now after the Wolf Pack’s lopsided loss to the Hornets, they have lost their last two Tuesday games by a combined 19 runs.
And to inferior competition, no less. So is there something to these Tuesday afternoon hangovers?
“There shouldn’t be,” Powers said. “It’s another opportunity to play the game you like to play.”
Only Sacramento State (20-15) took advantage of this opportunity, though. The Hornets, who were coming off a three-game sweep against Cal-State Hayward, recorded 17 hits in the game. They scored four runs in the top of the first and never trailed.
Wolf Pack starter Chris Scott gave up six hits, including a triple and two homers, in just one inning pitched and his ERA skyrocketed from 8.10 prior to the game to a team-high 11.74 by the time the second inning started.
Jesse Schmidt went 2-for-3 with three RBI, Mikela Olsen went 3-for-6 with two RBI and Bret LeVier went 3-for-5 with two RBI for Sac State, which is off to its second best start since 1993.
“The bottom line is the guys concerned about the fact that they want to pitch more have the opportunity to pitch. That’s what Tuesdays are all about,” Powers said. “I thought all the guys, when they kept the ball down, they had a good amount of success. Unfortunately, they didn’t keep it down enough.”
The Hornets went through five different pitchers. They led 11-1 after the top of the fifth. Meanwhile, Nevada looked as if it didn’t want to be out there. The Wolf Pack only scored one run in the first six innings and not even that one was earned.
“For some reason, we came to play today,” said Sac State coach John Smith. “It was nice to see us swing the bat well. We’ve hit the ball like this the last two, three times out.”
The Hornets were recently booted from the Big West Conference and now play an independent schedule. Nine of their 20 wins this season came against non-Division I opponents. But the Hornets are making the best of a difficult situation.
“When I first learned that we were going to to be independent, it was kind of disappointing,” said Smith, who was won more than 700 games in 25 seasons with the Hornets. “But we’ve been able to schedule teams we normally wouldn’t have been able to. Our schedule is pretty tough. I’m not as disappointed as I was before.”
Sac State, which Smith said has played the 46th toughest schedule in the nation, plays two games against nationally-ranked Stanford this weekend. It then travels to Tucson, Ariz., for a game against Arizona.
Nevada hosts San Jose State in a key three-game series starting Friday at 1 p.m. After that, of course, comes another Tuesday game, this one against UC-Davis on April 15.