Wolf Pack earns series split at Hawaii
Special to the Nevada Appeal
The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team had to work overtime on Sunday.
Shaun Kort brought home Garrett Yrigoyen with a two-out single in the top of the 12th inning as the Wolf Pack beat the Hawaii Rainbows 8-7 in front of 2,459 fans at Les Murakami Stadium.
The victory took a season high 4:33 to complete and gave the Wolf Pack a split in this four-game Western Athletic Conference series. The Pack improved to 24-17-1 overall and 5-6-1 in the WAC and Hawaii fell to 23-22 and 6-10.
“The kids really needed this game today,” Pack coach Gary Powers told 630-AM after the game. “Our pitching staff did a tremendous job keeping us in this game. But, all in all, I’m happy for these kids. They kept battling out there even after those two tough losses (on Saturday).”
The Pack, which lost a frustrating doubleheader to Hawaii 10-9 and 1-0 on Saturday, came within an out of losing three of the four games this weekend. The Pack tied Sunday’s game in the ninth inning on a two-out single by Yrigoyen.
“This was a game this team desperately needed,” Powers said. “Hawaii didn’t gain any ground on us (in the WAC standings) so we’re real happy about that.”
The victory went to reliever Tyler Graham (3-4), who pitched 1.1 innings of shutout relief. Graham allowed five unearned runs (the last two coming on a game-winning walk-off homer) in the 10-9 loss on Saturday.
“He had to pitch on Friday and Saturday and for him to show courage and go back out there after that tough loss says a lot about him,” Powers said.
Jesse Rasner also turned in a tremendous effort in relief. Rasner was nearly perfect over 4.1 innings, allowing just a hit and three walks and no runs from the sixth inning until the 10th.
“His effort gave us a chance to win this game,” Powers said. “He stood up to the challenge and did a great job.”
The Wolf Pack banged out 21 hits in the victory. Kevin Rodland had five hits and Brian Barnett had four. Kort and Nick Melino each had three and Yrigoyen had two.
Melino drove in a run with a double for a 1-0 Pack lead in the first inning. Carlos Escobar drilled a solo home run for a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
A sacrifice fly by Cullen Mahoney put the Pack back on top in the third inning, 3-2. Barnett drove in a run with a double to give the Pack a 4-3 lead in the fifth. A run-scoring single by Waylen Sing Chow and a RBI double by Rodland gave the Pack a 6-4 lead in the sixth.
Powers praised seniors Kort and Rodland after the game.
“That’s what senior leadership is about,” Powers said. “We needed that type of game from them today.”
The Wolf Pack will host San Jose State in a four-game series at Peccole Park starting on Friday (6 p.m.).