The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team made it harder on itself than it had to Monday afternoon.
"We went back to our old nemesis of not being able to get a hit when we needed it," Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers said.
The Wolf Pack held off the UC Davis Aggies, 7-4, at Peccole Park but left 14 runners on base along the way. The Pack, though, got enough hits at just the right time to win for the second consecutive day to improve to 8-16 on the season.
"It could have been a lot easier game than it was," Powers said of the non-conference victory over the struggling Aggies (now 5-18) of the Big West Conference.
The Wolf Pack left two runners on base in each of the first four innings.
Curtis Frisbie flew out to right field to end the first inning, Nick Melino struck out to end the second, Hugo Hernandez grounded out to end the third and Garrett Yrigoyen grounded out to end the fourth.
Each time two Pack runners were left stranded.
But, in the end, it didn't matter.
The Pack took a 1-0 lead in the third on a RBI single by Brock Stassi and pushed across three more in the fourth for a 4-0 lead. Joe Kohan got the big hit in the fourth with a two-run double. Frisbie also had a run-scoring single in the inning against Davis starter Harry Stanwyck (1-1).
The Pack went back to stranding bunches of runners on base in the sixth as Michael Turay flied out to center to leave the bases loaded. But, by that time, the Pack had taken a 5-1 lead on a bases loaded walk in the sixth by Hernandez.
The Wolf Pack then put the game away on a two-run homer by Carlos Escobar in the seventh for a 7-2 lead.
Escobar, inserted into the game in the top of the seventh, now has three homers in his last five games and has a nine-game hitting streak. Escobar, who had five homers in 68 at-bats as a freshman in 2010, now has three homers in his last 13 at-bats after not hitting a homer over his first 47 at-bats this season.
Wolf Pack starter Jeremy Cole didn't need much offensive help to post his first victory of the season. Cole turned in his best starting effort since last May, holding the Aggies to seven hits and just two runs in seven innings to improve to 1-2 on the year.
It was his best outing in a starting role since his last victory in a Pack uniform when he held San Jose State to three hits and no runs last May 8 at Peccole Park. Cole, a 6-foot senior right-hander, struggled in his final three starts in 2010 and his first three this season.
"If he can give us seven innings and only give up two runs, I'll take that everyday," Powers said.
Troy Marks pitched the final two innings, allowing four hits and two runs in the ninth.
"We're going to need our whole staff to step up and contribute for this team to be successful," Powers said.
The Pack pounded out 12 hits with Frisbie, Kohan and Braden Shipley each getting two. Frisbie, a freshman outfielder who has seen extended playing time lately while Brian Barnett recovers from minor knee surgery (Barnett pinch-hit on Monday), has seven hits in his last 15 at-bats to lift his average to .333 (7-for-21).
"We didn't think he was going to play today because he has a sore shoulder," Powers said. "He responded well. And that's good to see because we need another bat in the lineup."
The Wolf Pack will play the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday night (6:05 p.m.) in an exhibition game at Aces Ballpark in downtown Reno. Aces pitchers and catchers will play for both teams in the wood-bat game.
The Aces beat the Wolf Pack 11-1 in the first annual Aces-Wolf Pack exhibition a year ago.
"It's a good opportunity for our kids to be around guys who have played at the highest level of this game," Powers said. "It gives our kids an opportunity to play in a quality environment and it also gives us a chance to raise some money (for the Pack's Dugout Club). It's just a great exhibition and fun for our kids."