Wolf Pack downs Davis, 5-3
For the Nevada Appeal
DAVIS, Calif. — The UC Davis Aggies were in a generous mood.
The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team took advantage of eight walks and three hit batters by six Davis pitchers at Dobbins Stadium to pull out a 5-3 victory on Monday afternoon.
Davis starter Sean Watson walked five and hit two in his 5.2 innings despite being handed a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning. David Popkins relieved Watson in the sixth but he also struggled with his control, hitting a batter and walking one without getting an out in the seventh.
“We could be a little bit better right now but, at the same time, we could also be a lot worse,” Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers told 1450-AM on Monday after the game. “But we’ve gotten a lot out of these first eight games. I feel real good about where we’re at right now.”
The Pack scored its first run of the game in the third inning without the benefit of a base hit. Kevin Rodland walked with two outs and stole second. Westley Moss also walked and Shaun Kort was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brian Barnett then walked with the bases loaded for the 1-0 Nevada lead.
Davis, though, jumped out to a 3-1 lead with a pair of runs in the third and a single run in the fifth off Pack starter Brock Stassi.
“We kind of sleep-walked through the first part of this game with the bat,” Powers said.
Wildness by the Davis pitchers and some timely hits woke up the Pack bats starting in the sixth.
A single by Garrett Yrigoyen brought home Nick Leid in the sixth as the Pack cut Davis’ lead to 3-2. The Wolf Pack then scored single runs from the seventh through the ninth innings to earn the victory.
The run in the seventh was also without the benefit of a hit as the Davis pitchers again had trouble finding the strike zone. Rodland was hit by a pitch and stole second. Moss and Barnett then walked to load the bases and Leid tied the game at 3-3 with a sacrifice fly.
“That was a huge sacrifice fly for us,” Powers said.
Back-to-back, two-out doubles by Michael Turay and Rodland in the eighth gave the Pack a 4-3 lead. Leid drove in Kort with a single for an insurance run in the ninth. Kort had walked to start the rally.
Stassi, making his first start of the year, went seven innings for his second victory (2-0) of the season. The left-hander allowed just six hits and three runs (one earned). He struck out six and didn’t walk a hitter.
“All in all he did a great job keeping us in position to win this game,” Powers said.
Stassi, who beat Saint Mary’s 3-1 with 5.1 innings of shutout relief last Monday, has now allowed just one earned run in 12.1 innings this year for a 0.73 earned run average. He has also not walked a hitter and has allowed just nine hits in his 12.1 innings.
Tyler Graham went the final two innings for his second save of the year.
“As long as he throws strikes, he’ll go out there,” said Powers of Graham role as closer. “That’s something he wants to do. That’s a good thing when a guy has the desire to be in that position. That’s a key job for this pitching staff.”
Davis, which beat Utah twice and Cal and BYU once this year, fell to 4-4. The Aggies will play the Wolf Pack at Peccole Park in a 6 p.m. game on April 5.
The Wolf Pack, now 5-3 on the year, will open its home season Friday afternoon (2 p.m.) against Central Arkansas in the start of a three-game, three-day series at Peccole Park. Saturday and Sunday’s games begin at 1 p.m.
“It’s going to be interesting to play them,” said Powers of Central Arkansas. “We’ve never played them. We’re looking forward to it. It’s important for us to keep growing as a team.”