The UNLV Rebels seem to bring out the best in the Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team.
The Wolf Pack blew a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday but somehow gathered itself and rebounded to beat the Rebels 6-5 in 11 innings in front of a crowd of 876 at Wilson Stadium. The Wolf Pack, now 9-12 overall and 3-4 in the Mountain West, will go for the three-game series sweep on Saturday in Las Vegas. The struggling Rebels fell to 8-13, 3-5.
The Wolf Pack seemingly enjoyed a safe 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning with starter Trevor Charpie still on the mound. Charpie had allowed just one run on a mere three hits and a walk through eight innings. Charpie, though, lasted just two hitters in the ninth, allowing a double to Kyle Isbel and a walk to start the inning. Reliever Even McMahan then retired two of the first three hitters he faced as the Pack still had a four-run lead with one out to go. UNLV’s Andrew Yazdanbakhsh, though, drove in a run with a single, A.J. Van Meetren brought home two with a double and Nick Rodriguez tied the game at 5-5 with an infield single. UNLV had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth but Ty Pennington came on for McMahan to retire Max Smith on a foul out to first base with runners on second and third.
The Pack won the game in the top of the 11th on a RBI single by Bryce Greager, scoring Trenton Brooks. Greager then helped win the game in the bottom of the 11th with his glove, starting a game-ending double play at third with two runners on base. Anthony Martinez relieved Pennington with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to get his first save of the year as VanMeetren rolled into the ground ball double play to Greager.
Brooks, who has struggled this season after being named the Mountain West Player of the Year last year, was instrumental in the victory. He had three hits, scored two runs and drove in one, with a double and a stolen base. T.J. Freidl had two hits as did Justin Hazard and Cole Krzmarzick as the Pack pounded out 15 hits against four Rebel pitchers.
The Pack took a 1-0 lead in the first against UNLV starter Cody Roper as Brooks reached base on an error, stole second and scored on a double by Miles Mastrobuoni. The Pack took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on singles by Kaleb Foster, Brooks and Freidl. Roper lasted five innings for UNLV, allowing six hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk while striking out four.
The Wolf Pack then seemingly put the game away with two runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth to take a 5-1 lead. Hazard singled and went to second on a wild pitch to open the eighth. He later scored on a fielder’s choice ground out by Justin Bridgman. Brooks also drove in a run in the inning with a sacrifice fly. Freidl doubled and scored on a single by Greager in the ninth to give the Pack a four-run lead.