By Neil Patrick Healy
Nevada’s 2015 Mountain West championship banner was unveiled on Sunday, March 13, and the Wolf Pack responded by picking up a 7-6 win over New Mexico. It was the first conference win of the season and was also the first conference win for first-year head coach T.J. Bruce as he looks to turn Nevada around after the season’s rocky start.
“I’m really proud of how we bounced back today,” Bruce said after the game. “I told the team this morning that commitment is being loyal to who we are and how we play, and they went out and showed commitment and character today. I thought we played well in all facets. We pitched, played good defense and were opportunistic offensively.”
Junior left-handed pitcher Trenton Brooks earned his first win of the season, as he struck out six batters while allowing nine hits and two earned runs in five innings pitched. Brooks did it in both facets of the game with three RBIs. Sophomore TJ Friedl helped out as well by adding three hits and scoring two runs.
The Wolf Pack jumped to an early 6-1 lead in the fourth inning, but the Lobos would battle back and score four runs in the fifth inning off a Carl Stajduhar three-run homer over the left field fence. With Nevada’s lead cut to 6-5, Nevada managed to extend the lead to 7-5 with a RBI single by Cole Krzmarzick in the seventh inning.
In the eighth inning, New Mexico once again cut the Nevada lead to one run with a solo home run by Chris DeVito, but the Lobos rally was held off. With two runners on in the ninth inning, junior right-handed pitcher Evan McMahan threw in relief and closed out the game by forcing a double play.
Nevada went 4-of-9 (.444) on two-out hitting and drove in six two-out RBIs. Friedl had his sixth multi-hit game of the season with three hits, two runs and two RBIs. Brooks set a season-high with three RBIs and Pearce added two hits, one RBI and one run. McMahan earned Nevada’s first save of the season after entering in the ninth inning. An impressive stat is that Nevada’s pitching staff combined to strand 10 New Mexico runners on base.
Nevada (5-10, 1-4) returns to action on Tuesday as the Wolf Pack travels to Moraga, California, to take on Saint Mary’s (8-6). First pitch between the Wolf Pack and Gaels is set for 3 p.m. at Louis Guisto Field.
Neil Patrick Healy can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @NP_Healy.