Nevada's 9th Inning Rally Comes UP Short at Air Force
Nevada (13-29, 9-14 MW) scored a run in the top of the ninth but left the base loaded as the late inning rally came up short in a 4-3 loss at Air Force (22-20, 10-13 MW) on Sunday afternoon at Falcon Field. Snow only allowed two of the scheduled three Mountain West games to be played with the Falcons winning both after a 10-7 victory on Friday. Nevada dropped to 4-10 in one-run games this season and next plays at Sacramento State (22-22) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
With Sunday’s win the AFA is one game in front of the Pack in fourth place in the MW standings with a 10-13 MW record while Nevada is 9-14. The top four teams qualify for the season ending MW Tournament.
Trailing 4-2 after eight innings the Pack got a leadoff single from second baseman Keaton Smith to start the top of the ninth. First baseman Dillan Shrum followed with a double to score Smith and it was 4-3. A strikeout of Cole Krzmarzick was followed by shortstop Justin Bridgman being hit by pitch. Jordan Pearce’s ground out to second base advanced both runners but the second out of the inning was recorded. Grant Fennell was intentionally walked to load the bases for Michael Echavia who grounded out to shortstop on 3-1 pitch to end the game.
The Falcons scored the first three runs of the game with a single run in the first and two more in the third inning. The Pack scored twice in the seventh inning to make it a one-run game. Shrum’s two-out double scored the first run of the game for the Pack and Bridgman’s single plated Shrum with the second.
AF started the eighth with a double from Tyler Zabojnik and Russell Williams followed with an RBI single to make it a two-run cushion for the Falcons. Nevada got one of the runs back in the ninth but were unable to score a second as they fell 4-3.
Junior Mark Nowaczewski (3-5) was outstanding once again pitching his second career complete game in his last three starts. Nowaczewski struck out a career-high seven but suffered his fifth loss of the season giving up four runs in eight innings of work. Ethan Nichols (5-1) earned the victory and Ryan Holloway (4) recorded the final two outs to post his fourth save.
Fennell (2-for-4), Smith (2-for-4,R) and Shrum (2-for-2,R,2RBI) each had two hits as the Pack totaled eight. Shrum drove home two runs on the day. Bridgman extended his team-high hit streak to nine games. Pearce reached base for 28th consecutive time and Shrum in the last 21 games.
Shawn Mize (3-for-3) led AF with three hits while four different Falcon hitters had an RBI.