ST. GEORGE, Utah. – On a day that saw the Wolf Pack’s offense come alive, the Nevada softball team surged to two wins on Friday to open up the Red Desert Classic. With the 7-5 win over Weber State and 12-1 victory versus Southern Utah, the Wolf Pack now sits at 8-9 on the season. The pair of wins also extends the Pack’s winning streak to five games, which is the longest in head coach Josh Taylor’s tenure.
Between the two games, the Pack’s offense batted .411 (23-for-56) with 16 RBIs and a total of 17 runs scored. The 12 runs Nevada put on the scoreboard against Southern Utah (1-13) is a season-high. On the day, sophomore Sierra Mello went 4-for-5 with six runs scored and three RBIs to go along with her second home run of the season. Junior Alyssa Mendez went 3-for-6 with a pair of RBIs and has boosted her season average to .396, which leads the team.
The Pack began Red Desert Classic by scoring two runs in the top of the second inning against the Wildcats (6-10) to take an early 2-0 lead. After Weber State responded with a couple of runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, Nevada bounced back with another two runs in the third, after back-to-back singles from freshman Lauren Gutierrez and sophomore Sadaria McAlister scored freshman Jessica Sellers and Mello to reclaim the Pack’s lead at 4-2.
Nevada then pushed its lead to three in the fourth when a single from Mendez scored senior Erika Hansen from third. The Wildcats never went down without a fight though, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth, to cut the Nevada advantage to two runs.
With just a two-run advantage heading into the seventh, the Pack found some insurance runs as the team crossed the plate twice in the top of the inning, bringing the lead back to four runs. The four-run cushion proved to be valuable as the Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the comeback bid was not enough as freshman Julia Jensen retired the side to seal the Pack’s 7-5 win.
In Nevada’s second game on Friday against Southern Utah, the Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second but that turned out to be the only run they would score as junior Amanda Geil recorded three shutout inning afterwards to earn her first win of the season. After the Southern Utah run in the second, Nevada’s offense exploded with six runs of its own in the third to take a 6-1 lead.
The Pack’s top half of the third saw a total of six runs off of five hits in which the team batted around in the inning. Sophomore Haley Burda lead it off which a single to right field and was followed by a doubled to left center from Mello. With two runners on and nobody out, Gutierrez drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
After sophomore Kwynn Warner singled home both Burda and Mello, sophomore Kenzi Goins then lined a single up the middle to score Gutierrez and push the Pack’s lead to 3-1. With two more runs crossing the plate, Mendez stepped inside the box and ripped a single of her to score Hansen and give Nevada a 6-1 lead.
In the fourth, Nevada tacked on another pair of runs to extend its advantage to 8-1 but in the top of the fifth, another offensive explosion gave the Pack an 11-run lead. After both Mendez and Burda both reached base to lead off the inning, Mello then hit a rocket to dead center and over the fence for a three-run home run. Following two outs from Nevada, Warner then launched her first home run of the season with an opposite field shot to leftfield for the Pack’s 12th run of the game, which cemented the 12-1 win in five innings.
Nevada will be back on the field on Saturday for the second day of the Red Desert Classic. The Pack’s first game of the day will be against Southern Utah, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. PT.