In its first outing of the season, Nevada baseball made the 500 plus mile trek to Portland, Ore. The Pack was scheduled to play a four-game series against the University of Portland while there, but the Saturday match was canceled due to rain.
Nevada lost all three matches by a combined score of 33-5.
Friday, Feb. 14 – Game One
Nevada Baseball dropped its season opener, 14-1, in the first game of the Friday doubleheader versus Portland.
Sophomore pitcher Owen Sharts, boasting a 5.96 ERA last season, made the first start of the season for the Wolf Pack. Sharts yielded eight earned runs in 4.1 innings. The right-hander tallied a career-high eight strikeouts in the losing effort. Jordan Jackson was Nevada’s only pitcher to come onto relief, surrendering five earned in 3.2 innings.
Pilots starter Eli Morse threw seven innings of one-run ball—the fifteenth quality start of his collegiate career. The junior struck out four and walked two, earning the win.
Nevada compiled just five hits total. Joshua Zamora was the lone Pack player to accumulate a multi-hit game, going 2-3.
The lone Nevada run came in the seventh inning off a home run from preseason All-Mountain West selection, Dillon Shrum—the twentieth homer of his career. Shrum finished 1-4 on the afternoon.
Much like last season, the Pilots tallied 17 hits in their season opener. Six players racked up multiple hits. Three players—Jake Holcroft, Travis Turney and Dutton Elske—compiled three hits apiece. Turney led the way with five RBIs and crushed a career-high two home runs.
Turney’s first home run came in the fifth frame on a three-run blast, extending the Pilots’ lead to 8-0. After Nevada got on the board in the seventh inning, Portland responded with two more runs on its own. Turney, Elske and Jake Tsukada had back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to cap off Portland’s first victory of the season.
Feb. 14 – Game Two
In the second game of the doubleheader, Portland defeated the Wolf Pack 13-0.
Jake Jackson, coming off an injury-riddled 2019 season, took the hill for Nevada. The right-hander totaled four strikeouts and surrendered three earned runs in 4.2 innings. Shane Gustafson was the first pitcher out of the bullpen, allowing four earned runs in one inning of work. Four newcomers—Carson Snyder, Nicholas Wilson, Ethan Hurte and Sam Gamboa—made their first appearances on the season. Hurte took the worst of it, walking two and yielding four earned, only recording one out.
Christian Peters—making his third career start—tossed a dominant day. The senior struck out a career-high 12 batters and walked one in seven frames. Peters threw 104 pitches in the winning effort.
Nevada totaled just five hits, striking out 15 times. The only extra-base hit came from reigning first-team All-Mountain West selectee, Jaylon McLaughlin. He finished 1-3 with a strikeout.
Five Portland hitters tallied multi-hit performances. Trayce Tammaro went 2-3 with a home run and four RBIs. Sean Mulcare went 2-3, hitting the first home run of his career. Chad Stevens added three hits and two walks in six plate appearances.
Tammaro and Mulcare’s home runs came in the first inning, giving Portland an early 3-0 lead. The Pilots tacked on four runs in the sixth and two more in the eighth to extend their lead to 9-0.
Portland’s 10th run came on after a hit by pitch. A sac fly with a two-RBI single from the Pilots capped off their four-run eighth inning, earning their second win on the afternoon by 13-plus runs.
Sunday, Feb. 16
The Pilots defeated Nevada 6-4 on Sunday to complete the series sweep. The original series was four games, but Saturday’s game was canceled with no makeup date.
Shane O’Malley took the mound for the first time in his Wolf Pack career. The Santa Rosa Junior College Transfer tossed five innings of two-run ball. He struck out two and walked four.
Jake Fenn, making his first appearance this season, took the loss. He surrendered two earned in 1.1 innings of work, striking out two. Snyder, along with Ben Purcell and newcomers Clayton Westrope and Blane Abeyta combined to shutout the final 1.2 frames for Nevada.
Wyatt Stanley took the mound for the Pilots. Snyder surrendered four runs across 4.1 innings, striking out four and walking two.
Nevada’s first runs came in the first off a three-run homer from Shrum, his second on the year. It was his lone hit on the afternoon, finishing 1-4 with a strikeout.
Portland responded with four runs in the next two frames, taking a 4-3 lead. Nevada tied it up with a home run from Marco Valenzuela in the fifth frame. But two runs—including a home run from Mulcare—in the sixth were the final two blows for Nevada.
Nevada had an opportunity to tie it up in the ninth inning after a one-out single from Brady Hormel. Griff Fenn struck out and Valenzuela flew out to right to end the series.
Matt Hanifan can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.