UNR wins first Tuesday game in more than a month, 12-6 over UC-Davis
RENO — The University of Nevada, which already felt good going into this weekend’s series at No. 1 Rice, may have found another reason to have bulging chests in Houston. For the first time since March 4, the Wolf Pack won on a Tuesday.
Freshman Robert Marcial went 2-for-4 and hit his first homer of the season and seven different Nevada pitchers saw action in a 12-6 win over UC-Davis at Peccole Park. The Wolf Pack last won on a Tuesday more than a month ago when they beat Sacramento State 14-1.
“I’m just happy to have the opportunity to win a Tuesday game,” said coach Gary Powers. “We don’t play well on Tuesdays. This is a young team. You’ve got to be ready to play everyday. They’re going to have to understand that those games mean just as much as the weekend games. They need to start looking at it that way.”
Marcial’s solo homer over the left field wall in the fifth, which gave the Wolf Pack an 8-0, wasn’t a complete shock to the 5-foot-10, 150-pounder from Reseda, Calif. In fact, he knew it was coming.
“It was funny. I was telling Eddie (Bonine) that I was going to hit a home run in my next at bat. He told me to just get a base hit,” Marcial said. “I hit some home runs in the fall but, yeah, I’m not a home run hitter.”
Bonine, who started his 10th game, improved to 4-4 after throwing three innings of shutout ball. He struck out three and only allowed only one hit to the Aggies, who dropped to 22-16 overall.
Brett Hayes, who went 2-for-6 with an RBI, was the only other Wolf Pack player with a multi-hit game. Jacob Butler, though, went 1-for-3 and recorded four RBI after his three-run homer in the third put his team up 5-0. Nevada (20-16 overall, 902 WAC) scored six runs in the third to open the game up.
UC-Davis, a Division II school, didn’t score until the sixth inning when Josh Behrens’ RBI double made it 8-1. A two-run homer from David Butterworth in the seventh and three more runs in the top of the ninth caused the Aggies’ final five runs. UC-Davis starter Jeff Vignau took the loss after giving up six runs in only three innings. He hit four Nevada players on Tuesday and in a total of 6 2/3 innings pitched this season, Vignau has hit eight batters.
The Wolf Pack, who has won 11 of their last 14 games, goes into the Rice series three games back of the Owls in the WAC standings. Three weeks ago, before its current surge, Nevada may have been intimidated by Rice (12-1 WAC). Not anymore.
“If our pitching comes through, I think we have a chance,” Marcial said. “We’re pitching and hitting a lot better now. It’s going to be a good test for us. It’s crunch time now. I think we have a good shot. I feel we’re playing the best we have all season.”
The Owls’ top three pitchers haven’t lost this season and six of their players are among the WAC leaders with a batting average of .300. Until a 7-5 loss last Wednesday to Lamar, Rice (35-4 overall) had won 29 straight games. After dropping a 7-3 decision on Friday at Fresno State, it came back to win the final two games of the series but lost on Tuesday to Sam Houston State, 8-1.
“All I know is when you’re 35-3, you can’t be doing a whole lot wrong,” Powers said. “We can’t go in there in awe of the situation. We’ve allowed ourselves for these games to mean something. We haven’t done that the past two years.”