UNLV trounces Wolf Pack; Nevada now 0-7
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – A change in venue did not change the fortunes of the Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team on Friday afternoon.
The Wolf Pack, making its season debut at home, was trounced 9-0 by the UNLV Rebels in front of 492 fans at Peccole Park.
“We’ve played three real good teams,” said coach Gary Powers, whose Wolf Pack is now 0-7 this season after playing three games against both UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount on the road and the first game of this three-game series at home against UNLV. “This is a young team in search of an identity.”
It’s also a young team in search of its first victory. The Pack is 0-7 to start a season for the first time since the 1989 team started 0-9.
“We’ve haven’t given ourselves a chance in any of these games,” Powers said. “We’re our own worst enemy.”
The shutout was just the fifth suffered by the Wolf Pack at Peccole Park since the facility opened in 1988, a span of 605 games. All five shutouts at Peccole Park have come since 2005, over the last 155 home games. The Pack went its first 17-plus seasons (1988-2005) at Peccole Park, a span of 450 games, without being shutout at home.
“We’ve been playing from behind in every game,” Powers said. “You can’t play this game that way.”
The Wolf Pack, which has not had a lead at any point in any game this season, has trailed after 62 of its 63 innings this year. The only full inning they did not trail was after the first inning in the first game of the Loyola Marymount series when the score was 0-0.
“You can’t play this game when you are always behind,” Powers said.
The Pack trailed the entire game on Friday. UNLV, now 9-2 this year, scored three runs in the top of the first inning on four hits off Pack starter Jeremy Cole and led 8-0 by the sixth inning.
Cole, making his first start of the season, lasted four innings and allowed seven hits and five runs (four earned).
“We’re just getting him back to where we need him,” Powers said. “We didn’t expect him to go any longer than he did.”
Cole pitched well after allowing four hits to the first five Rebel hitters. The 6-foot, senior righthander allowed just three hits over his final 3.2 innings and one earned run.
“He did a nice job,” Powers said. “They (UNLV) hit one ball off the handle and a couple flares down the line. At the end he just got tired.”
Wolf Pack starting pitchers, though, have struggled over the first seven games. Pack starters have combined to allow 46 hits and 36 runs (29 earned) in the seven games for an earned run average of 11.35. The average outing for a Wolf Pack starter has been just 3.1 innings.
“In six of our seven game we haven’t pitched well enough to give ourselves any confidence,” Powers said.
The Wolf Pack has been outscored 17-0 in the first inning this year.
“We’ve gotten just one quality start all year so far,” Powers said. “We don’t have that kind of an offense to be able to overcome that everyday.”
The offense has also struggled this year, averaging just 2.7 runs a game. The Wolf Pack is hitting just .204 as a team and has just 12 extra base hits all season. Pack hitters have also struck out 58 times and walked just 22.
UNLV pitcher Tanner Peters went the distance against the Pack for his second career shutout. The 6-foot junior righthander, who is one of the top pitchers in the Mountain West Conference, has not allowed an earned run this season over three starts and 21 innings.
“He did an outstanding job,” Powers said. “He just out-competed us out there. He never gave in to us.”
Peters, who allowed just five hits, allowed the first two Pack hitters to reach base in both the eighth and ninth innings and worked out of trouble each time. He also worked out of a bases loaded, one out situation in the fourth. The Pack also got a runner to third base with two outs in both the second and third innings.
“The guys in the middle of the order are trying to do it all by themselves,” said Powers, of Nick Melino, Brock Stassi and Brian Barnett, who went a combined 1-for-9. “We’re not competing well enough out there. We’re going out there and trying to score three runs in every at-bat. You can’t play the game that way You have to take it one inning at a time.”