The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team proved on Sunday once again that good things can happen to those who wait.
And wait. And wait. And wait.
"This team needed a win like this one," Nevada coach Gary Powers said after a thrilling come-from-behind 8-7 victory for the Wolf Pack in 10 innings against the pesky Utah Valley Wolverines at Peccole Park. "Hopefully this will give us some confidence."
The Wolf Pack, now 7-16 on the year, was down to its final strike in the bottom of the ninth inning and still down by three runs (7-4) against the Wolverines.
Joe Kohan, who earlier hit his second home run in the three-game series in the fourth inning, then bounced a single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded. Curtis Frisbie and Anthony Rosa scored on the single and Jamison Rowe scored all the way from first to tie the game at 7-7 when Utah Valley center fielder Chris Benson threw the ball past third base.
The Pack, playing in its first extra inning game of the year, won in the bottom of the 10th inning when Nick Melino singled off the leg of pitcher Ty Hansen to score Michael Turay from third.
"Nick had two or three chances earlier in the game to do something and it didn't work out," Powers said. "Every time he came back to the dugout I kept telling him, 'You'll get another chance, you'll get another chance.' Fortunately, it worked out that way."
The Pack was 0-15 when trailing after eight innings going into Sunday's game. The victory also helped the Pack to avoid its first sub-.500 start after 10 games at home since the 1987 team started 4-5-1 at home. The Pack is now 5-5 at Peccole Park this year with a game at home on Monday against UC Davis (2 p.m.).
"I thought this game was going to be like so many that we've had this year," Powers said. "Now we'll see what this does for them."
Utah Valley, which drilled the Pack 19-6 on Saturday, built a 7-3 lead by the eighth inning.
A run-scoring single by Brock Stassi cut the Wolverines' lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth but even that inning ended on a sour note when Garrett Yrigoyen bounced into a double play and Turay rolled out to third with two runners on base.
The Pack, still trailing by three, loaded the bases in the ninth as Curtis Frisbie doubled and Braden Shipley and Jamison Rowe walked. Kohan then brought them all home (Rosa ran for Shipley) with his game-changing single up the middle.
The winning run in the 10th was set up by a leadoff single by Turay and an intentional walk to Carlos Escobar. The Wolverines had a chance to get out of the inning without a run scoring but Tommy Niebergall beat out a possible inning-ending double play grounder to second.
Melino then ended the game a few minutes later.
The victory went to reliever Matt Gardner, who fanned three in a scoreless 10th inning. Mat Keplinger pitched a scoreless ninth inning and Tim Culligan gave up just one run in three innings of relief.
"I thought those last three were really the key," said Powers, who used five pitchers in the game. "We were looking for someone to stabilize the game. Those guys put us in a position and gave us a chance to get back in it."