University of Nevada (12-15, 1-0 WAC) senior catcher Travis Simas homered twice as the Wolf Pack rallied from a three-run deficit twice to defeat Louisiana Tech (12-10, 0-1 WAC) 8-5 Friday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston, La. to open Western Athletic Conference play. With the victory the Pack are 1-0 in conference play and 12-15 overall while the Bulldogs dropped to 12-10 on the season and stand at 0-1 in WAC action.
Nevada stranded two runners in the top half of the first inning but the Bulldogs scored three times in the bottom of the first to take an early 3-0 lead. First baseman Alex Williams’ third home run of the season scored two of the runs in the inning.
Simas’ third home run leading off the top of the fourth inning got Nevada on the scoreboard but two more runners were stranded in the inning. In the top of the sixth inning designated hitter Matt Bowman walked and eventually scored on a single by third baseman Tyson Jaquez to get the Pack within a run at 3-2 but again Nevada stranded two runners in the inning.
The Bulldogs answered the Pack’s run in the top of the sixth inning with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Second baseman Kevin Winn walked to start the inning and right fielder Devon Dageford followed with an RBI double. Dageford eventually scored the second run of the inning on designated hitter Mark Threlkeld’s sacrifice fly.
A four-run top of the seventh inning gave Nevada its first lead of the game. Simas’ second home run of the game scored second baseman Nick Lead after he started the inning with a single. First baseman Shaun Kort’s double scored Bowman after he walked and Jaquez drove home Kort with his third hit of the night.
Nevada scored a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning when shortstop Kevin Rodland’s double inside the third base bag plated center fielder Westley Moss after he singled and Bowman who got on base courtesy of a walk to make the final score 8-5.
Pack starter Brock Stassi (4-3) earned his fourth win of the season allowing five runs on six hits and struck out seven in six innings on the mound. Reliever Daniel Tinlin (3) saved his third game of the season all coming in the last six played tossing 1.1 shutout innings. LTU reliever Mike Jefferson (1-2) gave up three runs on two hits in one inning of work and suffered the loss.
Jaquez (4-for-5,2RBI) finished with a career-high four hits and drove in two runs in the game. Simas (3-for-5,2R,3RBI) finished with three hits and a game-high three RBI. Jaquez and Rodland finished with two RBI each. Kort (2-for-5,R,RBI), Leid (2-for-6,R) and Moss (2-for-5,R) added two hits each as the Pack totaled 17 on the night.
Kersten (2-for-4) led the Bulldogs with two hits while Dageford and Williams had two RBI apiece.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon with first pitch of game one scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Game two will follow 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest.