WAC Tournament Day Three Recap/Day Four Preview

Day three of the 2010 WAC Tournament saw two more teams eliminated, both in walk-off fashion, and saw the league’s bully take a shot to the mouth.  Third-seeded Nevada knocked of second-seeded New Mexico State with a walk-off two-run home run in the day’s first elimination game but then found a similar fate to the Aggies in the second elimination game of the day as the Wolf Pack were bested by sixth-seeded San Jose State in 10 innings on a walk-off two RBI single.

Game 6 – #3 Nevada 5, #2 New Mexico State 4 – Elimination Game
The Nevada Wolf Pack rallied from a 3-0 deficit to stun New Mexico State in the day’s first elimination game.  New Mexico State got on the board first in the top of the second inning on a Chace Perkins solo home run.  The Aggies would add another run in the top of the third inning as a Ben Harty single down the right field line would score Nate Shaver from first base with two outs.  New Mexico State would extend the lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth as a Nate Shaver single would score Joel Cardinal from second. 

Nevada cut the Aggies’ lead to just one in the bottom of the sixth inning as they would put men on first and second with one out.  Garrett Yrigoyen would single to bring in Nick Melino from second putting runners at the corners with one out.  Carlos Escobar would hit a sacrifice fly to score Nick Leid from third.  The Aggies would add what they had hoped to be an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning as a Ben Harty double to center field would score pinch runner Ryan Decater who subbed in for pinch hitter Mike Sodders who saw his first action since the start of conference play. 

Clinging to a 4-2 lead, the Aggies loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with two out but could not bring any more runs across the plate.  Nevada led off the inning with a ground-rule double from Carlos Escobar.  A single by Waylen Sing Chow gave Nevada runners at the corners with nobody out.  Kevin Rodland reached on a fielder’s choice that brought home Escobar cutting the Aggies’ lead to one at 4-3.  The Wolf Pack then brought in pinch hitter Cullen Mahoney who delivered the walk-off home run to right-center field giving the Pack a 5-4 victory.

Aggie freshman pitcher Ryan Beck threw 5.1 innings giving up five hits and two earned runs, striking out four and walking none.  WAC Pitcher of the Year Brock Stassi threw 7.1 innings for Nevada giving up all four Aggie runs on six hits.  He struck out eight and walked just two.  Tyler Graham picked up the victory for Nevada as he threw 1.2 innings allowing one hit while striking out two and walking two and hitting one batter.  Steven Anderson took the loss for New Mexico State as he threw 1.1 innings giving up three runs on three hits, hitting one batter, striking out one batter and walking none.

New Mexico State’s season came to a close with a final record of 36-23-1.

Game 7 – #6 San Jose State 7, #3 Nevada 6 – Elimination Game
The Wolf Pack had a quick turnaround as they would play in a second elimination game this time against 6-seed San Jose State who had beaten them on the opening day of the tournament 6-0.

The Wolf Pack jumped out quickly to a 4-0 lead as they would score two runs in the top of the second taking advantage of a San Jose State error and then adding two more in the top of the third after putting runners on second and third with one out.  San Jose State cut the Wolf Pack’s lead in half in the bottom of the third inning as they would plate a pair of runs after putting runners on second and third with nobody out.  The Spartans tied things up in the bottom of the fifth inning after putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Nevada would quickly retake the lead 5-4 in the top of the sixth as Kevin Rodland would lead off the inning with a double and later score on a single by Cullen Mahoney.  San Jose State would tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on a solo home run by WAC Freshman of the Year Zack Jones who had come in to pitch in the sixth inning.  The solo shot sent the game to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th inning Nevada would load the bases on three consecutive walks, however, Shaun Kort would line out to the second baseman for the first out.  Kevin Rodland would deliver a single to left filed scoring one run but Jones would get Cullen Mahoney to strike out for the second out and then got Brock Stassi to fly out to left field to get out of the jam.

San Jose State would put the leadoff runner on base as Jason Martin would be hit by a pitch.  Tim Quiery would single to left putting runners on first and second with no outs.  After a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third the Wolf Pack would intentionally walk Corey Valine to load the bases and bring a possible double play into into play.  However, Zack Jones would once again deliver as he singled to center field scoring Martin and Quiery to give the Spartans a 7-6 victory.

Zack Jones picked up the victory as he went 5.0 innings in relief giving up two runs on three hits striking out six while walking five.  Tyler Graham took the loss for Nevada as he threw 1.0 inning and gave up two runs on two hits striking out one and walking one.  Wolf Pack Starter Chris Garcia went 4.1 innings allowing four runs on three hits while striking out four and walking three.  Jesse Ratner threw 3.2 innings in relief for Nevada allowing one run on one hit and striking out one.  Mat Keplinger threw a third of an inning giving up one hit.  San Jose State starter Sean Martin went 5.0 innings giving up four runs on four hits, striking out six and walking four.

The Wolf Pack’s season ends with a 36-22-1 record.  San Jose State advances to the final game of the loser’s bracket where they’ll face top seeded Fresno State.  The Spartans lost to Fresno State 12-10 on Thursday night.

Game 8 – #4 Hawai’i 11, #1 Fresno State 3
The Warriors scored in every inning but one en route to a a dominating 11-3 victory over top seeded Fresno State.  The loss is just the second for the Bulldogs since the tournament was reinstated in 2006.

The Warriors, playing as the home team, scored one run in the first, two in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth and four in the fifth to jump out to a 9-0 lead.  Fresno State would add two runs in the top half of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 9-2, however, Hawai’i would score a single run in the bottom half of the inning to go up 10-2.  Neither team would score in the seventh and Hawai’i would add one more in the eighth inning to go up 11-2.  Fresno State would add a meaningless run in the top of the ninth for a final margin of 11-3.

Hawai’i starter Matt Sisto threw 7.0 innings allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.  Blair Walters pitched 2.0 innings in relief allowing just one run on three hits while striking out two and walking one.  Fresno State starter Josh Poytress pitched just 2.0 innings giving up four runs on six hits, striking out three and walking two.  Derek Benny threw 1.2 innings in relief giving up one run.  Cody Kendall threw two thirds of an inning giving up four runs on two hits.  Gene Escat would finish the game for Fresno State throwing 3.2 innings giving up two runs on nine hits while striking out two and walking two.

The Warriors advance to the championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. where they will face the winner of the Fresno State/San Jose State game which is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m.  The winner of that game will have to beat Hawai’i twice in order to win the tournament title and the league’s automatic bid.

Game 9 – #1 Fresno State vs. #6 San Jose State – 4:00 p.m. PT – Elimination Game
The Bulldogs defeated San Jose State 12-10 on Thursday.

Game 10 – #4 Hawai’i vs. Winner of Game 9 – 7:30 p.m. PT