UNR explodes for 19 hits in 15-2 win over San Jose State
RENO — Mike Hass’ stubbornness toward Peccole Park his first two years has been replaced by acceptance.
“My first two years, I hated this field because I couldn’t hit the ball to right field,” said the left-handed junior. “Now I know better. I found out to just hit it to left. I can’t beat Mother Nature.”
Peccole’s common spring jet stream toward the left field wall produced a season high 19 hits for Nevada in its 15-2 win over San Jose State in front of 1,268 fans on Friday afternoon. Hass and Kevin Kouzmanoff were the biggest beneficiaries. Hass went 3-for-5 with five RBI and Kouzmanoff 4-for-6 with six RBI, a season high for any Wolf Pack player. He also had a pair of two-run home runs, giving him a team-high nine homers, and the Wolf Pack combined for four home runs in the game, which tied a single game season high.
“It’s my best game of the season so far,” said Hass, whose grand-slam homer in the fourth put Nevada up 10-1. “They (San Jose’s pitchers) were trying to paint that outside corner. You’d think they’d figure it out.”
Perhaps they will starting in today’s game but four pitchers didn’t yesterday.
Five different Nevada players had at least two hits in the game. Brett Hayes, whose 18-game hitting streak ended in a 14-4 loss to Sacramento State Tuesday, went 2-for-5. Erick Streelman was 3-for-4 and Chris Gimenez 3-for-4 with three RBI.
“We were fortunate that a lot of guys were swinging the bat well and came through for us,” said coach Gary Powers. “It’s nice because it’s been awhile since we’ve had a game like that.”
Veiled by Nevada’s hitting clinic was the pitching of Mateo Miramontes. The 6-foot-4 junior improved his season record to 7-1 after allowing only two runs in seven innings. Miramontes only struck out three batters and walked three others but the location of his pitches was what was impressive. He forced seven ground outs and several other fly outs just by keeping the ball down, although no easy task in Friday’s gusty conditions.
“It was hard for him because we had three innings that were longer than normal and he did a nice job of staying focused,” Powers said. “On a day like today, if you only give up two runs in this park, you pitched a very good game. He should be proud of his effort.”
In the first, Kouzmanoff started the scoring with a two-run homer and Hass and Gimenez each added RBI doubles off starter Carlos Torres as the Wolf Pack led 4-0. Nevada (18-16 overall, 8-2 WAC) scored five runs in the fourth, four of which came off of Hass’ grand slam.
The Spartans (18-18, 4-9) were never able to put together a inning like that. Scott Gilbertson pitched two innings of relief for Nevada and only allowed one hit.
In fact, the only drama in this game came in the bottom of the sixth. Gimenez led off the inning with a solo homer to make it 13-1, then Chris Dickerson, who was hitless in his first two at-bats bunted and reached first. The very next pitch from San Jose’s Andy Cook drilled Robert Marcial in the back. Cook was ejected, even though the entire ball park knew it was coming. On his trot to first, Marcial glared at Dickerson, who was replaced by Brian Gazerro at second, and the Spartans replaced Cook with Brad Kilby.
Powers wouldn’t comment after the game about Dickerson’s poor decision but the 6-foot-4 junior did.
“That was totally my fault,” Dickerson said. “I should know better than that. We were up 12 runs.”
Taylor Pullins and Kouzmanoff each added RBI singles after the incident to give Nevada a 15-1 lead. The 13-run win tied the Wolf Pack’s largest margin of victory this season. They beat Sacramento State 14-1 on March 4. The past three seasons Nevada had gone 2-13 against San Jose State, including two losses earlier this season at Municipal Stadium.
“We respect them and what they do,” Powers said of the Spartans, who advanced to the College World Series in 2000. “We got to be ready to play every inning.”