After splitting the series with the Oregon State Beavers, the Wolf Pack returned home for a pivotal three-game series against Mountain West rival University of Nevada, Las Vegas Running Rebels. The Wolf Pack looked to make a run after the Rebels had just come off a two-game skid against number seven: Arkansas.
Kade Morris, Nevada starting pitcher, was on the bump for the Wolf Pack in game one of the series at home, but struggled out of the gates. Getting it going early, the Running Rebels tagged Morris for three runs in the top of the first inning from a couple hits and a home run.
The Pack got one back in the bottom half of the first, but the score still stood 3-1 going into the second inning. The Rebels continued to pour it on the Pack as they continued to knock the ball around the park with an RBI single and another homerun making the lead 6-1 after the second inning as the Pack couldn’t retaliate. Morris tried to stop the bleeding, despite his performance not being top tier and the lack of run production. Morris continued to battle, with the Pack’s ace dealing and the bats staying cold, the Rebels looked at this opportunity to put the game to bed.
Tacking on four more runs, the Running Rebels were running away with the game now leading the Pack 10-1 through five innings. Morris would finish his outing after 4.1 innings pitched while giving up 10 runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Jordan Jackson, Nevada right handed pitcher, followed Morris with a 1.1 inning pitched and Clayton Ray, Nevada left handed Pitcher, with 0.1 innings pitched, but the game fell silent. Not much was in motion during innings six and seven, but the Rebels gained momentum at the top of the eighth. Alejandro Murrillo, Nevada right handed pitcher, went to the mound, but the Rebels added another run to make it 11-1 going into the bottom of the eighth.
Henry Strmecki, Nevada outfielder, came back with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth followed by an unearned run scored by Dawson Martin. However, it was too little too late as the Rebels still led 11-4.
The Rebels would close it out and come away with game one winning by a large margin of 11-4.
With the Pack looking to bounce back from their opening loss in the series, Coach Jake McKinley gave the ball to Jason Doktorczyk, Nevada right handed pitcher, for game two.
Starting the top of the first with a one, two, three inning Doktorczyk gave the Pack offense just what they needed. Gifting Doktorczyk back the top two batters in the order Nolan Wilson, Nevada catcher, and Taylor Holder, Nevada outfielder, both got on base with a double followed by a single.
Wilson would later score on a wild pitch, scoring the first run of the game. Matt Clayton, Nevada catcher, would knock Taylor home on a fielder’s choice to put the Pack up 2-0 early, a lead they needed. Although the Running Rebels would bounce back quickly, scratching a run across at the top of the second followed by a one, two, three bottom half. Making the score 2-1.
Beginning in the top half of the third inning the Rebel bats woke up. Scoring seven runs on seven hits with a home run the Rebels took a commanding lead of 8-2 and looked to settle as the Pack failed to score runs in the bottom half. The Rebels continued the onslaught tacking on one more run making it 9-2 in the top half of the fourth inning. Doktorczyk would go on to finish the inning, but we are all for him this game, going four innings pitched while giving up nine runs on eight hits.
Snagging four runs in the bottom half of the fourth with a Clayton two-run home run after a Jesse Pierce, Nevada infielder and outfielder, walked. Quickly followed by a Wilson two-run double making the game interesting at 9-6.
The bats went cold for both teams during the fifth and sixth innings, until the seventh inning, where Clayton doubled down the line to dwindle the lead down to two runs. Making the score 9-7 going into the top of the eighth.
Michael Sarhatt, Nevada right handed pitcher, would take the ball after Doktorczyk’s four innings and would deal. Going 3.1 innings, Sarhatt would not allow a run while on the mound, striking out five through the eighth inning. Soon, Lucas Gather would follow and record two outs.
Still 9-7 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Pack looks to close the game and take the lead. Unfortunately, the bats fell silent once again going one, two, three into the top of the ninth inning. To begin the top of the ninth, Dorsey Chatham, Nevada right handed pitcher, took the ball after Gather and would be in a bit of a pickle. With runners on, Chatham would give up a single up the middle, scoring a run, but would gather himself with runners on and get out of the jam. The Rebels collected a much-needed insurance run, making it even harder for the Pack now with a lead of 10-7.
The Pack was relentless and needed a win badly. Wilson got a walk to start the inning. Soon after, Holder would reach on a fielding error and immediately after, Strmecki would walk, making it three runners on with no outs for the Pack to start the inning.
After recording an out, Pierce would reach on a fielder’s choice to second base but scored a run now making the score 10-8. There were runners now on first and third with Clayton due up next. Coming in the clutch, the Senior crushes a double to center field, scoring one run and making it 10-9, but with runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Pinch running for Clayton, Josh Catacutan, Nevada outfielder, stood on second base as the winning run.
Derek Tenney was up next and was due for another home run. Despite not hitting a home run, Tenny laced another double to center field, scoring Pierce. Following him was Catacutan from second base as he crossed home plate for the winning run.
Then, Derek Tenney double gave the Pack a walk off win at home 11-10 in the final. With a much needed conference victory at home the Pack continued the trend.
The celebration wouldn’t last too long, the Pack had to turn around for the rubber match of the series. Casey Burfield, Nevada starting pitcher, was given the start in the third game against the Rebels.
Starting the game like Game two, Burfield went a smooth and easy one, two, three. Handing it right to the Pack offense to do their thing. The offense answered Burfield’s call as the Pack put up a crooked number. Scoring two runs off two hits and two walks, only leaving one on base, the Pack led 2-0 after one inning.
The Rebels would quickly answer with a run of their own, cutting the lead in half at 2-1. The Pack wouldn’t be satisfied after giving up a run, scoring right away with a Mason Hirata, Nevada infielder, RBI double, and taking the two-run lead back, making it 3-1 after two innings.
The bats fell silent until the top of the fifth inning where Burfield would find himself in some hot water. With runners on, the Rebels singled with two outs and scored a run making it 3-2. Burfield looked to get out of another jam, but the next batter after the single took Burfield deep to left center for a three-run home run. The Rebels would take the lead 5-3 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning.
The Pack would not go out quietly, responding in their bottom half of the fifth and grabbing a run and making close at 5-4 Rebels. Peyton Stumbo, Nevada right handed pitcher, would replace Burfield after going five innings pitched, giving up five runs on five hits and three walks. Stumbo would go one, two, three locking down his top half of the inning to keep the score knotted 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Taking the opportunity, the Pack offense would put pressure on the Rebels. Starting the inning with a Jaxon Woodhouse, Nevada first baseman, walk, JR Freethy, Nevada second baseman and shortstop would follow with a single down the line, putting runners on first and second. Immediately after, Hirata would come up once again and deliver. Squaring a double into the gap, Hirata would drive in Woodhouse to tie the score up at 5-5.
Stumbo would pitch until the ninth inning and absolutely shoved,giving up no one-on-one hit and four strikeouts in three full innings pitched. Morgan White, Nevada Right Handed Pitcher, would take the ball from Stumbo and would close the top half of the ninth.
Knotted at five, the Pack offense had a chance, but was unable to get a run across for their second straight walk-off win. Their luck had run out.. Going into extra innings tied at five, the Pack looked to get back in the dugout and hit. The Rebels would have other plans putting runners on base, but the Pack prevailed and escaped the top half of the tenth.
The Pack bats looked at another opportunity to walk it off but instead had one, two, or three innings.
In the eleventh inning, the Rebels put the pedal to the metal. Immediately putting runners on, UNLV finally got to White and the rest of the Wolf Pack bullpen. Scoring four runs, the Rebels hit two separate two-run home runs all with two outs in the inning.
Headed to the bottom half of the eleventh, the Pack looked for a miracle, but the air had been sucked out of them. The Pack would only rally one hit in the bottom half of the eleventh losing the series finale rubber match at home 9-5 to their arch-rivals.
Looking ahead, the Pack will have a couple of tough, but winnable series, being home at Peccole Park. The Pack looks to get back on track, having their next game as a mid-week game against the University of San Francisco that is quickly followed up by a series against New Mexico Lobos at home.
Jalen Robinson can be reached via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @NevadaSagebrush