Nevada Qualifies For WAC Tournament After Holding On For 5-4 Victory At New Mexico State
May 18, 2006
Las Cruces, N.M. - The University of Nevada(22-26, 9-12 WAC) turned three double plays including one in the bottom of the ninth inning to get out of a bases loaded no out jam to defeat New Mexico State(19-34, 6-16 WAC) 5-4 in the first-game of a three-game Western Athletic Conference series in Las Cruces, N.M. on Thursday evening at Presley Askew Field. With the victory the Wolf Pack have qualified for the six-team WAC Tournament to be played in Fresno, Calif. next week. Winners of five in a row the Pack are now 22-26 on the season and 9-12 in WAC play. The loss by the Aggies eliminated them for the WAC tournament field as they fell to 6-16 in conference play with just two games remaining in the regular season. Overall NMSU is now 19-34.
Nevada scored a single run on the top of the ninth inning to go on top 5-4. With one-down first baseman Baker Krukow singled and Drew Johnson came off the bench to pinch run. Third baseman Matt Bowman doubled down the left field line and Johnson was going to stop at third base but Aggie left fielder Jason Rodriguez bobbled the ball as he scored the go ahead run to put the Pack on top 5-4.
The Aggies put together a rally of their own as shortstop Abe Aguirre, Rodriguez, and center fielder Vince Rodden singled to start the bottom of the ninth inning. The Pack turned its third double play of the game when NMSU second baseman Jason Long grounded into a 5-2-3 double play. Nevada intentionally walked slugger Luke Hopkins to load the bases for catcher Brandon Lance. On a 3-2 pitch from Pack reliever Wesley Dorsett, Lance popped up in foul territory to first baseman Dan Eastham to end the game as the Pack held on for the 5-4 victory.
In the top of the third inning Nevada scored first when designated hitter Terry Walsh delivered a two-out, two RBI single that scored Bowman and right fielder Shawn Scobee. Bowman reached on a walk and Scobee singled to setup the RBI opportunity for Walsh.
NMSU tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in their half of the fourth inning. Long singled and Hopkins walked to start the rally. A passed ball and wild pitch scored Long with the first run while Lance singled home the second run of the inning to tie the game.
The Pack regained the lead when Eastham, who was playing left field at the time, belted his second home run of the season over the left field fence in the top of the fifth inning. Eastham's homer scored Walsh after he singled with two down and Nevada led 4-2.
Two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning by NMSU tied up the game for second time. Third baseman Joseph Godinez walked, Aguirre singled, and left fielder Derek Maytubby was hit by pitch to load the bases for Rodden. Rodden singled home both runs and chased Pack starter Tim Schoeninger from the game, enter Dorsett. Dorsett got the first out at third base on ground ball off the bat of Long and then a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning to keep the game tied at 4-4 to setup the exciting ninth inning finish.
Dorsett(4-5) got the win pitching three shutout innings allowing just four hits and striking out a pair. Kyle McFadden(2-7) suffered the loss allowing the one run on two hits in 1.1 innings on the mound.
Bowman(2-for-4,R) and Walsh(2-for-4,R,2RBI) led the Pack hit attack with two each. Walsh drove in two with a single and Eastham two with his home run.
Rodden(2-for-5,2RBI) and Aguirre(2-for-4,R) led NMSU with two hits apiece. Rodden tied for game-high honors with two RBI on the night.
Game two of the series is set for Friday evening at 6:00 p.m.