The Nevada Baseball team went 2-2 in their recent four-game homestand, picking up wins against San Francisco and Air Force. The Pack fell to 14-13 this season and 5-7 in conference play.
March 26 vs. San Francisco
Dillan Shrum and Josh Zamora’s big days at the plate helped Nevada defeat San Francisco 7-3 at Peccole Park.
The pair of junior sluggers combined for four hits and five RBIs. Shrum went 2-4 with a double and triple and drove in a season-high four RBIs. Zamora went 2-2 with a solo home run and two runs scored. Nevada laced nine hits as a whole and recorded five walks.
Nevada’s Dalton Gomez recorded his first win of the season. Gomez kept the Dons in check and his changeup forced easy groundouts in the infield. The senior left-hander surrendered three earned runs on 10 hits and four strikeouts in six innings pitched.
Wolf Pack relievers Jordan Jackson and Ben Purcell took care of the rest, blanking San Francisco for the final three frames of the contest.
Nevada jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third inning. Zamora’s bomb to left tacked on the first run, Shrum and outfielder Nick Seamons followed with back-to-back RBIs. Shrum’s bases-clearing triple put the Pack up 6-0. Tyler Bossetti’s sacrifice fly in the fifth marked Nevada’s final run of the game.
The Dons responded with a three-hit, three-run sixth inning highlighted by a Jacob Westerman RBI single to cut the deficit 7-3. Jackson and Purcell took care of business with three shutout innings to seal the victory.
March 27 vs. Grand Canyon
The Wolf Pack’s hot bats failed to carry over in an 8-2 loss to Grand Canyon. Nevada’s two runs on the afternoon snapped a streak of five-straight games in which the Pack scored five runs or more.
Nevada mustered just six hits. Josh Zamora was the sole producer offensively, going 1-5 with a two-run home run. He’s homered in his third consecutive game. Jaylon McLaughlin finished 3-3 with a double and triple, he was a home run shy of the cycle.
Right-hander Shane Gustafson toed the rubber for his first start of the season. The junior pitcher gave up just one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts in five innings. He received the no-decision after the Nevada bullpen collapsed and surrendered a combined seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Tyler Smith had three earned runs and recorded one out in the seventh.
The Lopes plated the first run in the second inning of an RBI-double from Cuba Bess. Both teams were held scoreless until the seventh inning. Gustafson retired five-straight batters at one point.
With Julian Boyd at third, Zamora cranked a two-run shot to give Nevada a 2-1 lead in the seventh. The Pack’s late-inning collapse helped the Lopes put the game away. GCU recorded five runs in the eighth capped-off by Kona Quiggle’s two-run blast. The Lopes added two more to give them a commanding 8-2 lead.
Nevada went out in 1-2-3 fashion and couldn’t make a comeback in the final half inning.
March 29 vs. Air Force
Jaylon McLaughlin’s walk-off base hit sent the crowd home happy and helped the Wolf Pack take game one of the three-game series.
McLaughlin lined a single that rolled down the third base line to seal the 4-3 victory in the bottom of the ninth inning. Nevada tallied 10 hits on the day and five extra base-hits. Josh Zamora, Dillan Shrum and Julian Boyd all recorded RBIs. Connor Allard and Keaton Smith had two hits apiece.
Southpaw Ryan Anderson continued his stellar season on the mound. The Sparks native gave up two earned runs on four hits and 10 strikeouts in six innings in a no-decision effort. Anderson finished one punch out shy of his career-high as the Wolf Pack recorded 14 strikeouts as a team.
Nevada got on the board in the first, as Zamora jumped on a 2-1 fastball and drove an RBI double to the gap in left-center to score McLaughlin to put the Pack ahead 1-0. Air Force responded in the top of the third with a two-run homer from Ashton Easly to put the Falcons up 2-1.
Nevada knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the third inning off of Shrum’s RBI single that skipped up the middle to shallow center field. Anderson blanked the Falcons through four-straight innings and pounded the zone with waist-high fastballs to get ahead of the count. He finished off the Falcons’ batters with a signature slider that cut across the plate.
Boyd’s RBI double down the left field line put the Pack up 3-2 with two innings left to play. Air Force answered in the top of the eighth with Nic Ready’s solo shot to tie the game 3-3. Bradley Bonnenfant closed out the top of the ninth to give Nevada a chance to finish the Falcons in the bottom of the ninth.
McLaughlin’s walk-off single put Nevada up 1-0 in the three-game series.
March 30 vs. Air Force
The Falcons’ fourth-inning rally fueled an 8-2 victory over Nevada to tie the series 1-1. A four-hit, six-run fourth by Air Force pushed their lead to 8-0 and killed all momentum for a Wolf Pack comeback.
Nevada’s nine hits mustered just two runs on the day. Shrum and Weston Hatten launched back-to-back solo shots in the sixth inning. Jaylon McLaughlin finished 2-4 with two singles.
Owen Sharts’ struggles on the mound continued. The freshman right-hander surrendered six earned runs on four hits and three walks in 3.2 innings of work. Sharts had trouble locating his fastball to get ahead in the count, and it led to Air Force driving hanging curveballs to the gap. His ERA rose to 6.25 on the season.
Air Force struck first with two runs in the top of the third off RBI singles from Tommy Gillman and Colby Brown. Nevada stranded a pair of runners in the bottom half of the third, Conor Allard grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The Falcons poured it on in the top of the fourth inning to push its lead to 8-0.
Nevada didn’t go down without a fight. Back-to-back homers from Shrum and Hatten in the bottom of the sixth first cut its deficit to 8-2. The Pack was held scoreless for the final three frames.
March 31 vs. Air Force
A 4-1 loss marked the series loss for Nevada. The Pack recorded just four hits on the day as their bullpen pitched 5.2 shutout innings.
The Pack tallied its first hit in the fifth inning thanks to junior Daniel Perry smacking a double with two outs in the frame. Nevada’s next three hits all came in the ninth inning with two outs.
Joshua Zamora singled for his first hit of the day with two outs in the ninth, and made it to second thanks to a Jaylon McLaughlin single. Shrum then drilled Nevada’s only RBI of the day by bringing Zamora home.
Air Force scored all four of its runs in the first four innings, tallying one in each of the first four frames. Pack starter Jake Jackson (0-2) suffered the loss after tossing 3.1 innings with a strikeout and four earned runs.
The Falcons’ Ethan Nichols threw 8.2 innings with no walks and only four hits and one earned run. He went into the ninth inning with only one hit allowed.
The Wolf Pack will finish the three-game series against Air Force on Sunday, March 31. They face the Reno Aces — Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks — in an exhibition game on Wednesday, April 2 at Greater Nevada Field.
Isaiah Burrows can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.