ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of Nevada baseball team used a strong start by Braden Shipley to defeat New Mexico 5-3 on the first day of the 2012 season. The win moved Nevada to 1-0, while New Mexico fell to 0-1. Braden Shipley earned the win, going five innings and giving up only one hit. He struck out seven and walked five, throwing 49 strikes and 90 pitches.
Hitting second in the Pack lineup, Kyle Hunt picked up his first collegiate hit in the bottom of the first with a single. The inning ended one batter later, when Kewbey Meyer hit into an inning ending double play.
Shipley breezed through the second, retiring the Lobos in order. In the bottom of the inning, Austin Byler smacked his first career hit, a single, to right. Two batters later, Joe Kohan got into the hit column with a single into right.
Jay Anderson, up in the first big spot of his career, came through with a single up the middle to score Byler from second and put the Pack ahead 1-0. After Hunt lined out to left field, Kewbey Meyer jumped on the first pitch he saw and lined it into right to score Kohan. Meyer was caught stealing to end the frame.
Another one, two, three inning from Shipley in the third followed by a scoreless fourth brought Byler to the plate to lead off the Nevada fifth. He walked, and was sacrificed to second by Garrett Yrigoyen. A wild pitch by New Mexico starter Austin House allowed Byler to advance to third. Kohan drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right to put the Pack ahead 3-0.
Shipley struck out the side in the fifth, getting two big k's with runners on first and second and one out. He retired Kyle Stiner on three pitches, getting the Lobo second baseman to chase a breaking pitch for the third strike. Following Stiner, D.J. Peterson also went down swinging. He swung through a fastball for the final out of the inning.
Dan Levine saw his first action of the season Friday, coming in to pitch in the sixth. He surrendered a lead-off triple to Josh Melendez, who scored on a groundout one batter later. Levine was able to work out of the inning without surrendering another run.
A Kohan single in the top of the seventh meant another Wolf Pack run. Cameron Brooks, who ran for Byler after he singled, came around from second to make the score 4-1.
New Mexico continued to hang around, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh to get to within one. Nevada answered with a run in the eighth, pushing the lead back to two.
Tim Culligan, who came in for Levine with two down in the seventh, got four outs without allowing a base runner.
Nevada threatened in the ninth, putting runners at first and second with one out. Carlos Escobar Jr. went down looking for the second out and Brett Jones flied out to left for the third.
The strong work in relief by Culligan allowed Matt Gardner to get his first save opportunity of the season in the bottom of the ninth. He got Ben Woodchick to fly out to center field for the first out. After a walk to Stiner, Gardener struck out Peterson. Two batters later he struck out Mitchell Garver to end the game and earn his first save. In total, three Nevada players earned their first career hit against the Lobos on Friday. Senior second baseman Joe Kohan had two hits and drove in two runs.
Game two of the series will be played at noon, Saturday at Isotopes Park. Tyler Wells is scheduled to pitch for Nevada, while Sam Wolff is set to go for the Lobos.