UNR post impressive come back, tops Saint Mary’s 15-13
RENO — With arthroscopic knee surgery scheduled for today, the University of Nevada’s Chris Dickerson figured he should make the most of his last at bat for a few weeks. He certainly did.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Dickerson hit an RBI double that tied the game, then Ryan Strain followed with a game-winning two-run single, capping off an amazing comeback as the Wolf Pack beat Saint Mary’s 15-13 on Tuesday at Peccole Park.
With the Gaels led 10-2 after the fourth inning, things didn’t look good for Nevada, which was trying to snap a three-game losing streak after Rice swept the Wolf Pack (12-14 overall, 0-3 WAC) last weekend.
“I’m only getting one at bat for the next three weeks, better make it count,” Dickerson said after the game. “Mike Gillies said that 10 runs weren’t going to win this game for them. We knew we were going to score some runs, it was just a matter of time. We knew we could come back.”
It only happened after coach Gary Powers, who earned his 599th career win at Nevada on Tuesday, went to his bench. The Wolf Pack’s pinch hitters went 6-of-8 against St. Mary’s and knocked in nine of the team’s 15 runs.
“The guys I’m happy for is the guys off the bench,” Powers said. “They responded in a tough situation. We put them in the game and they really sparked us.”
Nobody provided a bigger spark than Erick Streelman, who was just 2-for-15 coming into the game. Streelman replaced JaRell McIntyre in the bottom of the fifth and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the game. His first at bat was a memorable one, smashing a three-run homer that made it 10-8. Curtis Wickwire followed with his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot that made it 10-9, which ended a seven-run fifth inning for the Wolf Pack. Wickwire, who was hitting behind Streelman in the lineup, also had a two-run shot in the second that made it 6-2.
“It feels good, it felt like the Bash Brothers for a little bit there.” Streelman said of his and Wickwire’s back-to-back homers. “That was fun.”
Strain, who replaced Carlos Madrid in the seventh, went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, including his game-winning hit in the eighth, the only time the Wolf Pack led.
The Gaels (8-13, 1-2) jumped all over Nevada early, roughing up starter George Moran, who’s normally used out of the bullpen. In 2 1/3 innings, Moran gave up eight runs on five hits while walking five batters to go along with a wild pitch. When he left the game in the third, the Wolf Pack was down 8-2. Moran came into the game with an ERA of 12.00 and left with an ERA of 13.50 following his only start of the season.
Freshman Bryan Johnson (2-1) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to earn the win.
“Moran got in a hole, then started pressing early and we got ourselves into a big hole,” Powers said. “I was disappointed how we went down 10-2 early. We had a real lack of intensity.
Powers will be going for his 600th win in the NCAA history on Friday against Louisiana Tech. It will be the first of a three-game homestand against the Bulldogs for the Wolf Pack. Dickerson, though, won’t be there to help. He’ll miss at least two weeks, and most likely three, after today’s surgery at 10 a.m. Doctors will try and remove bone chips in his left knee.