Wolf Pack winning streak comes to an end
Special to the Nevada Appeal
Nevada coach Gary Powers wasn’t shocked that his Wolf Pack baseball team lost to the San Jose State Spartans on Sunday.
“We just made too many mistakes in the first nine innings of this game,” Powers said on 630-AM after a frustrating 6-4 loss in 12 innings to the Spartans at Peccole Park. “I firmly believe that’s the way this game is. It humbles you.”
The Wolf Pack made numerous mental and physical errors as its four-game winning streak came to an end. The Pack is now 27-18-1 overall and in third place in the Western Athletic Conference at 8-7-1. San Jose State, which had lost four in a row, improved to 18-29 overall and 6-10 in the WAC.
The Pack, though, had plenty of opportunities to complete its first four-game WAC series sweep since 2008 (over Louisiana Tech).
The Wolf Pack tied its season high by hitting into four double plays.
Brock Stassi hit into a double play to end the fifth, Kevin Rodland bounced into a double play with two runners on base to end the sixth and Brian Barnett lined into a double play with two runners on base to end the seventh.
The fourth and final double play, though, hurt the most. Westley Moss bounced back to the pitcher for a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded to end the 10th inning with the game tied, 4-4.
“Those are the kinds of things that hurt you,” said Powers of the four double plays. “If we just score one run in those situations, we win the game.”
The Pack, which left 12 runners on base (San Jose State left 17), also hurt itself on defense and on the bases.
San Jose State won the game with two runs in the top of the 12th on a two-out single by Corey Valine. The Pack, though, turned two San Jose State bunts earlier in the inning into an error and a single to load the bases with no out.
“Those were routine plays,” Powers said. “If we just go to first and get the out we had, they never score and we get out of the inning.
“But that’s the way it was the whole game. This (Pack) team, there’s a little bit of immaturity to it and it showed today.”
The game also ended on a Pack mental error.
Stassi, who doubled with two outs in the 12th, was tagged out on his way to third base by San Jose State third baseman Nick Borg after a ground ball off the bat of Garrett Yrigoyen to end the game.
“We didn’t have the right focus today,” Powers said.
The four Pack runs came on two swings of the bat. Carlos Escobar hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the second inning and Shaun Kort gave the Pack a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the fifth.
The Pack, though, did not score over the final seven innings of the game thanks, mainly, to San Jose State reliever Zack Jones. The 6-foot-1 freshman dominated the Pack, allowing just two hits and three walks and no runs over the final 5.2 innings. It was Jones who made the pitch of the game, getting Moss to bounce back to the mound in the 10th for the rally-killing double play.
The loss went to Pack reliever Tyler Graham (4-4). Graham, though, deserved a better fate. The senior right-hander went 4.1 innings (his longest outing of the year) and allowed just six hits and two unearned runs.
Graham, normally the Wolf Pack’s closer, threw 90 pitches, more than the Pack’s starter (Stassi). Stassi, making his first appearance on the mound since April 25, tossed just 81 pitches and was lifted after four innings (eight hits three runs).
The loss was just the Pack’s fifth this season at home in 20 games.
The Wolf Pack has just two four-game WAC series left this season: May 14-16 at Sacramento State and May 18-23 against Louisiana Tech at Peccole Park.