Wolf Pack locks in postseason with 10-0 victory over Sac State
The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team is headed to the postseason.
The Wolf Pack clinched a spot in the Western Athletic Conference tournament with a 10-0 victory Sunday afternoon over the Sacramento State Hornets in the final home game at Peccole Park this season.
The Pack, now 20-27 overall and 9-10 in the WAC, will close out its regular season with a game at Fresno State on Thursday and four games at San Jose State starting on Friday. Sacramento State (18-36, 5-15) finds itself in a battle with New Mexico State (32-20, 7-13) for the sixth and final spot in the WAC Tournament starting May 25 at Mesa, Ariz.
“These were three good wins for us,” said outfielder Nick Melino of the Pack’s three victories in four games this weekend over the Hornets. “Now we’re going to go to Fresno and San Jose and fight for third place.”
The Wolf Pack turned in one of its most complete efforts in beating the Hornets in eight innings due to the WAC’s 10-run rule in league games. The Pack pounded out a season high 16 hits and Jeremy Cole and two relievers combined for the team’s fifth shutout of the year.
“This team can play this way,” Pack coach Gary Powers said. “When we get good starting pitching everybody else feeds off that.”
Cole, who had allowed 10 earned runs in five innings combined over his last two starts against Hawaii and Louisiana Tech, controlled the Hornet bats all afternoon. The right-hander, who was honored along with the six other seniors on the roster before the game, allowed six hits and struck out a season-high seven hitters in seven innings. Relievers Mat Keplinger and Tim Culligan pitched the eighth inning.
Cole, who is now 4-4 with a 4.15 earned run average, allowed more than one base runner in an inning just once and only one Hornet runner advanced to third. He struck out at least one hitter in six of his seven innings and was helped by a double play in the fourth and a nice play by third baseman Garrett Yrigoyen in the fifth on a Hornet bunt.
“It was nice to see him do that,” said Powers of Cole. “He had been struggling his last couple times out there.”
The Wolf Pack had base runners all day long against five Hornet pitchers.
Melino’s sacrifice fly scored Waylen Sing Chow for a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Brock Stassi tripled home Carlos Escobar and Sing Chow in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Joe Kohan and Stassi each had two-run singles as the Pack broke the game open with four more runs in the third inning for a 7-0 lead.
Stassi finished with four hits and four RBI. Yrigoyen had three hits, Kohan and Escobar each had two hits and a walk, Sing Chow had two doubles and Brian Barnett had a single and two walks.
“We did a nice job at the plate today,” Powers said.
The Pack scored twice in the sixth thanks to a RBI double by Escobar and a Sacramento State error. The Pack ended the game in the bottom of the eighth (WAC games are halted when one team has a lead of 10 or more runs in the seventh inning or later) on a double by Kohan and a single by Braden Shipley.
“We needed this,” said Melino, who was on base three times on a double, walk and hit by a pitch. “We have some momentum now.”