With the help of solid starting pitching and timely offense, Nevada Men’s Baseball went undefeated in a four-game California road trip against UC Davis and Long Beach State to improve to 6-1 on the season. The Wolf Pack allowed three or more runs twice and scored five runs of its own in two of the games.
Feb. 19 at UC Davis
Infielders Dillan Shrum and Tyler Bossetti played the hero role for Nevada in a 5-4 victory over UC Davis Tuesday. Both players each recorded two-out RBI after entering the ninth inning down 4-3.
Nevada’s three-hit, two-run rally in the final frame sparked life into the Wolf Pack offensively to begin the road trip. The team laced 10 hits and had two doubles. Freshman catcher Matt Clayton went 2-5 with his first career RBI. Freshman outfielder Nick Seamons finished 1-3 with his first career RBI as well. Bossetti’s three hits and two runs led the team.
Senior reliever Bradley Bonnenfant picked up his first career win at Nevada, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings to close out the game. Wolf Pack starter Dalton Gomez pitched 4.1 innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and two hits in a no-decision effort.
The Aggies jumped out a 1-0 lead courtesy of Caleb Van Blake’s inside-the-park home run. Nevada was held scoreless until the fourth inning when Clayton jumped on a fastball that zipped through the middle, scoring Bosetti to tie the contest. Seamons’ RBI single capped-off a three-run fourth and a 3-1 lead.
UC Davis responded with two more runs in the sixth to tie the game then took a 4-3 lead in the eighth off a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
The Wolf Pack answered in the top of the ninth. Josh Zamora singled to open the inning, he was replaced by pinch runner Julian Boyd. Boyd crossed home plate off Bossetti’s RBI double to right-center. Shrum brought Bossetti home with an RBI single to give the Pack a 5-4 lead. Bonnenfant blanked the Aggies’ bats in the final frame to seal the win for Nevada.
Feb. 22 at Long Beach State
Junior lefty Ryan Anderson pitched his way to one of the most historic performances in Nevada baseball history. The Sparks, Nevada native tossed seven hitless innings with a career-high 11 punchouts to steal a 1-0 victory over Long Beach State Wednesday. He was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 25.
Anderson’s 11 strikeouts are the third-most by a Wolf Pack starter since the year 2000 and his three-pitch mix of fastball, slider and changeup was electric on the mound. His fastball painted the corners of the plate and the slider complemented the southpaw’s heat with break at the knees, which kept Long Beach State whiffing at air or taking a strike three call.
Anderson’s historic performance also alleviated Nevada’s worst offensive outing of the year. The Wolf Pack recorded season-lows with one run and one extra base-hit. Marco Valenzuela recorded the only RBI of the contest and finished 2-3 at the plate.
The Wolf Pack had its chances to attack early — having runners in scoring position in the first and even loaded the bases in the fourth — but failed to bring a runner home in either situation. The Pack left 13 runners on bases for the entire game.
The Wolf Pack finally got on the board with Valenzuela’s RBI single that rolled past the left side of the infield, scoring Weston Hatten and producing the only run of the game.
Nevada had the chance to complete its first-ever no-hitter heading into the ninth inning, but an infield single by leadoff batter Calvin Estrada ended the Pack’s pursuit of history. Shane Gustafson closed out the inning to keep Nevada’s 1-0 lead spotless.
Feb. 23 at Long Beach State
Nevada’s offensive flury in the first two frames helped secure a 5-3 victory over Long Beach State in the second game of the series. The Pack scored all of its runs in the first two innings, which was more than enough for starter Owen Sharts and a lights-out bullpen to keep the lead intact all nine innings.
The Pack recorded a season-low six hits on the day, two of which went for extra bases. Kaleb Foster went 1-2 with a triple and two RBIs. Dillan Shrum finished 2-4 with a double and two RBI.
Nevada opened the contest with a three-hit, three-run first inning highlighted by Foster’s two-RBI triple down the right field line. Zamora scampered home off a wild pitch from Dirtbags starter John Sheaks. Long Beach State scored two runs in the bottom of the first to cut the Pack’s deficit to 3-2.
The Wolf Pack struck again in the second thanks to Shrum’s two-run double, scoring Tilley and Zamora. Sharts bounced back in the second and third innings, closing out the order and not allowing a single baserunner in both frames. He struck out shortstop Santino Rivera with a hanging breaking ball.
The Dirtbags scored another run in the bottom of the fourth inning after Chase Luttrell scored on a Sharts wild pitch. Sharts was taken out in the sixth inning and the bullpen took care of the rest. Powell pitched 1.1 innings to get through the eighth and Bonnenfant recorded his first save of the season in the ninth. Sharts picked up his second win of the season, allowing three earned runs on three hits and three strikeouts in 5.2 innings. The pen combined for zero hits and six strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.
Feb. 24 at Long Beach State
Nevada completed the three-game sweep of Long Beach State with a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon. The Pack never trailed the entire weekend, and this time around it was with timely hitting and solid outings on the mound once again.
Josh Zamora’s two-RBI day helped Nevada take the lead for good and the Pack never looked back. They recorded nine hits offensively and the pitching staff shutout the Dirtbags for seven-straight innings. Marco Valenzuela went 2-3 with one RBI while Keaton Smith and Weston Hatten each added two hits.
Wolf Pack right-hander Tyler Smith worked his way through 4.2 innings, surrendering three hits and zero earned runs in a no-decision effort. Smith blanked the Long Beach State offense through the first three frames. The Nevada bullpen backed him up with 4.1 combined innings of work. The trio of Josh Congress, Gomez and Bonnefont did just enough to fight off a late Long Beach State comeback in the two final frames. Congress recorded his first win of the season.
Nevada got on the board first in the fourth inning and loaded up the bases. Valenzuela’s RBI single just got over the head of the second baseman and bounced into shallow center field to give them a 1-0 lead. The Dirtbags escaped the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
The Wolf Pack struck once more in the sixth inning courtesy of Zamora’s blooper that went over the head of leaping shortstop Santino Rivera and bounced into left field. Hatten and Smith touched home plate and Nevada led 3-0 heading into the seventh.
Long Beach State finally scored in the eighth off a Chase Luttrell groundout the scored Calvin Estrada. The Dirtbags struck once again in the ninth with a solo shot to right field, but Bonnenfant recorded the final out and secured the sweep.
Nevada’s upcoming four-game series against the 2-6 Washington State Cougars has been moved to Reno, Thursday, Feb. 28, due to weather concerns.
Isaiah Burrows can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.