Wolf Pack tops weather, Seattle
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – The Nevada Wolf Pack beat the Seattle Redhawks and Mother Nature Friday afternoon at Peccole Park.
The Pack swept a doubleheader from the Redhawks, 12-10 and 17-3, in front of 603 courageous fans who had to brave chilly temperatures and strong winds that gusted out over the left field fence all day long.
“It was crazy,” Pack coach Gary Powers said. “Crazy. But both teams were in the same situation and had the same opportunities.”
The Pack, which improved to 14-11, scored 29 runs on 30 hits and drilled four home runs on the day. Seattle, now 3-19, hit five balls over the left field fence. The Redhawks, though, were only credited with four home runs because Riley Tompkins, who hit the fifth blast in the second game, passed teammate Nate Roberts on the base path between first and second and was ruled out.
It was that kind of afternoon at wind-swept Peccole Park.
“You have to tip your hat to all of the pitchers who had to go out there today,” said Powers, who coached his 1,500th game for the Pack in the first game. “It was very, very bad. It was almost impossible to maintan your balance and your focus.”
The Wolf Pack, despite the conditions that were better suited for an America’s Cup yacht race, actually received two solid performances from its starting pitchers.
Chris Garcia went five innings for the victory in the first game. The Reed High graduate allowed just two runs and three hits to improve to 3-1. The left-hander allowed just one hit and no runs over the first four innings before allowing a couple solo homers in the fifth that were blown over the left field fence.
“Chris really didn’t have his good stuff,” Powers said. “He just never felt comfortable out there. But you can probably figure out the reason. The wind and cold had something to do with that.”
Tom Jameson, a Reno High graduate, went five innings for the victory in the second game. Jameson allowed just one run on six hits in picking up his first collegiate victory (1-1). The right-hander allowed just two hits and no runs over the first four innings before giving up four singles and a run in the fifth.
“Tom gave us five solid innings,” Powers said. “The thing I was most pleased about was he didn’t walk anybody. Under those circumstances and conditions that was huge. Tommy did a great job.”
It took the Pack two innings to get going in the first game. The Pack broke the game open with three runs in the third and six in the fourth to take a 9-0 lead.
Brian Barnett and Kevin Rodland each hit two home runs in the first game for the Pack. Both Rodland and Barnett each hit a two-run homer and a three-run blast to drive in five runs. Rodland now has five homers on the year and Barnett has a team-high six. Barnett also leads the team with 29 RBI.
“The wind didn’t have anything to do with their home runs,” Powers said. “Those balls were smoked.”
Rodland hit a two-run shot and Barnett followed four hitters later with a three-run homer to account for five of the Pack’s six runs in the fourth inning. Rodland later drilled a three-run homer to close out the Wolf Pack scoring in the sixth.
Seattle, which brought back its baseball program this season after a 24-year absence, kept the pressure on the Pack in the first game. The Redhawks got solo homers off Garcia from Josh Kutz and Doug Buser in the fifth. Tompkins didn’t pass any of his teammates on the bases when he hit a three-run homer in the sixth and Sean Narby had a two-run homer in the ninth.
The Pack walked eight Redhawks hitters in the first game but only two of them came around to score. The Wolf Pack also received an outstanding defensive game from catcher Carlos Escobar.
Escobar picked two runners off first and nabbed another trying to steal second. The freshman catcher also three outstanding catches of pop ups, battling the winds along the way.
“Those plays he made helped us win the game, no question,” Powers said. “Every out was extremely valuable in a game like this. If we would have given them any more outs, who knows what would have happened. All you had to do in that wind was put the bat on the ball and it was going out to left.”
The Wolf Pack scored six runs in the first inning and five in the second to take a quick 11-0 lead in the second game.
Brock Stassi, Nick Melino and Joe Kohan each had run-scoring singles in the first inning and Garrett Yrigoyen had a two-run double to key the second-inning uprising.
Yrigoyen, hitting just .213 coming into the game, went 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Michael Turay, hitting just .140, was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
The Wolf Pack and Redhawks will conclude this three-game series with a 12 p.m. game on Saturday. Jeremy Cole is scheduled to start for the Pack.
The Wolf Pack will also host UC Davis on Monday at Peccole Park, starting at 2:30 p.m.