This past week the Nevada Baseball team (11-26, 7-11 MWC) squared off in a three-game series against conference foe San Jose State Spartans (13-20-1, 7-9-1, MWC). Earlier in the season, San Jose State was able to sweep the Wolf Pack in their three-game series in San Jose. In each game in that series, the games were decided by a single run, including two games that went into extra innings.
This time around, the Wolf Pack looks to avenge their early season losses in a three-game home stand against the Spartans. Heading into the series, Nevada went 1-3 on a four-game road trip, wherein they went 1-2 against the San Diego State Aztecs and lost a game against UC Santa Barbara.
Below is a game-by-game look at this past week’s series
The Nevada baseball team lost another heartbreaker in the opening game of the series. With the loss, the Wolf Pack drops to 5-11 in Mountain West Conference games and 9-26 on the season. On the flip side, the Spartans improved to 7-7-1 in the Mountain West and 13-8-1 overall.
The Spartans struck first in the game, scoring two runs in the second inning. Spartans catcher Joseph Stefanki smacked a double into center field. The next batter, second baseman Kyle Morrison, drew a walk. In the next at-bat, the hitter Kyle Blakeman hit a productive infield groundout that advanced both runners into scoring position. Michael Breen was able to drive home the opening runner with a sacrifice fly that brought home the leadoff hitter, Stefanki, and advanced Morrison to third. Finally, in the next at-bat the hitter, Kellen Strahm, struck the ball down the right field line for an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0, bringing home the base runner, Morrison.
The Wolf Pack rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Designated hitter Kaleb Foster was hit by a pitch in the opening at-bat of the half inning. With the lead-off batter on base, the following batter, Cole Krzmarzick, struck out looking. This was followed by a single to right field by Marco Valenzuela. Jaylon Mclaughlin hit a strong ball at the shortstop in the following at-bat which forced a throwing error that allowed Foster to score and Valenzuela to advance to third.
Nevada was able to further capitalize on the error in the following at-bat as Keaton Smith smacked a ball down the left field line for a bases-clearing double, allowing for the Wolf Pack to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
San Jose State was able to tie the game in the seventh inning with a thunderous Chris Williams home run that forced Nevada head coach T.J. Bruce to pull his starter, Trevor Charpie, from the game. Despite a shaky second inning, Nevada starting pitcher, Charpie pitched a solid game, throwing 122 pitches in 6.2 innings, giving up nine hits and only giving up three runs, striking out three batters.
In the following inning, the Wolf Pack was unable to prevent the Spartans’ offense from scoring, as they gave up three runs to reclaim the lead. In the top of the eighth, with two runners in scoring position, Jack Veasey homered to give the Spartans a three-run advantage that proved to be too much for the Wolf Pack to overcome. The Spartans won the opener by a score of 6-5.
The Wolf Pack offense was led by Morrison, who went 3-for-4. Stefanki also had three hits in five at-bats. Williams and Strahm also had two hits apiece on the day.
The second game of the series was a back and forth affair with Mark Nowaczewski throwing the first complete game of the season for the Wolf Pack. The pitcher gave up four runs, two earned and two unearned, throwing an efficient 113 pitches on the day.
Foster drew a walk after being hit by a pitch. A groundball to third advanced Foster to second, setting up a Grant Fennell RBI single to center field bring home Foster and give the Wolf Pack the opening run.
The lead was short-lived, as the Spartans tied the game in the third inning when Kyle Blakeman hit an RBI double off of Nowaczewski to bring in a runner to tie the game at one apiece.
In the following inning, Nevada capitalized on some mental lapses by the Spartans. The Wolf Pack was able to score two runs off of a throwing error by the center fielder and a sacrifice groundout by Fennell. With two runs scored, the Wolf Pack reclaimed a two-run lead.
However, the Spartans would not go away, scoring a run in each of the next three innings to reclaim a one-run lead. With one last chance in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Wolf Pack was able to muster up some magic with some late-game heroics from Chase Grant who hit an RBI single with the bases loaded to tie the game. This was followed by the game-winning RBI single by Justin Bridgman to seal the victory for the Wolf Pack.
With the win, the Wolf Pack tied the series at 1-1 with a rubber match being played the next day to decide the series.
The final game of the series was preceded by an Easter Egg Hunt for Nevada fans as the Wolf Pack was hunting for another victory to win the series against the Spartans.
Nevada rode the coattails of its freshman pitcher, Riley Ohl, who pitched a career-high eight innings en route to a 6-2 series-clinching victory. The freshman pitched an efficient 117 pitches, striking out six hitters and only allowing two runs on the day.
The Wolf Pack was able to provide the run support for its pitcher as they scored six total runs with three coming in the third inning, two runs in the fifth, and another one in the eighth inning.
Bridgman, led the Wolf Pack offense hitting 4-of-5, had an RBI, and had two runs. Tyler Florres, Smith, and Krzmarzick had two runs apiece as well.
After winning two out of three against the Spartans, the Wolf Pack will go back on the road against UC Davis (10-19) on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.