Pack, Aggies settle for 10-10 tie
The Nevada Wolf Pack and New Mexico State Aggies played over three hours (3:28) on Sunday afternoon and didn’t decide a thing.
The final game of the four-game Western Athletic Conference series at Presley Askew Field in Las Cruces, N.M., ended in a 10-10 tie after eight innings because of the WAC’s travel rule. The teams agreed upon a time limit for the game (no inning could start past 3:30 p.m., MST) because the Pack had to catch a flight back home to Reno.
The tie is the Pack’s first since a 1-1 final at Santa Clara in the third game of the 1993 season. It is also just the fifth tie in Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers’ 28-year (1,506 games) career.
The Wolf Pack (16-13-1 overall, 1-2-1 in the WAC) had plenty of chances to earn the victory and salvage a split in the conference-opening series.
Nevada built an 8-0 lead with four runs in the first and third inning. Pack starter Chris Garcia, though, had his worst game of the year and lasted just three innings.
Garcia, who came into the game with a 2.54 earned run average over six appearances, allowed eight hits and six runs in just three innings. The left-hander also walked five after walking just 10 over his first 28.1 innings.
The Pack, though, gave Garcia a huge 8-0 head start by the third inning.
Shaun Kort and Nick Melino each drove in a run in the first inning with singles. Brock Stassi bunted home Kevin Rodland and Shawn Walters walked with the bases loaded for the other two runs in the opening inning as the Pack gave Garcia 4-0 lead before he even stepped onto the mound.
The lead became 8-0 as the Pack scored four more times in the third inning. Brian Barnett and Garrett Yrigoyen hit back-to-back homers to open the inning. The homer is the seventh of the season for Barnett, a former McQueen High and Western Nevada College player.
Westley Moss also drove in Walters and Rodland with a two-run triple in the third inning for an 8-0 Nevada lead.
New Mexico State, though, scored six runs in the bottom of the third off Garcia to get right back into the game. Garcia would leave without recording an out in the fourth inning. The Reed High graduate threw 90 pitches (just 50 for strikes) in his 3-plus innings.
The Pack, though, scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 10-6 lead. Rodland walked with the bases loaded in the fourth and Barnett brought home Kort with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
The Pack bullpen, with the time limit fast approaching, could not make the four-run lead stand up over the final four innings. New Mexico State (24-11-1, 2-1-1) scored once in the fifth inning off Rickey Denham and tied the game with three runs in the seventh off Tyler Graham.
The Wolf Pack, offense, though, had plenty of chances to put the game away. The Pack left 12 runners on base in the eight-inning game.
The Pack left seven runners on base in the first, third and fourth innings combined and each time the inning ended with a strikeout. Rodland fanned with the bases loaded to end the first, Stassi struck out with Moss on third in the third and Moss fanned with the bases loaded to end the fourth.
The Pack also wasted a scoring opportunity in the eighth. Barnett opened the inning with a single and went to second after Cullen Mahoney walked with one out. Nick Leid, though, struck out for the second out and Rodland lined out to second to end the threat. The Pack also wasted a one-out double by Kort in the second inning.
The game ended when Pack catcher Michael Turay picked off New Mexico State’s Daniel Simon off first base in the bottom of the eighth. Simon, a pitcher, was inserted into the game as a pinch-runner.
The Wolf Pack will host Saint Mary’s on Tuesday afternoon (2 p.m.) at Peccole Park. The game was originally scheduled for March 10 at Peccole Park but was postponed because of cold weather. The Pack beat Saint Mary’s 3-1 in Moraga, Calif., on Feb. 22 as Stassi pitched 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief.
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