Baseball: Nevada falls to Seattle

The Nevada Wolf Pack offense turned as cold as the temperature on Friday afternoon.

Seattle Redhawks reliever Conor Spink retired the final 10 Nevada hitters to beat the Wolf Pack, 8-7, on a chilly afternoon at Peccole Park.

"We had no killer instinct today, either offensively or on the mound," Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers said after the game. "It ended up costing us the game."

The Wolf Pack built a commanding 7-2 lead in the first three innings before Seattle scored five times in the sixth to tie the game at 7-7.

"We did nothing to challenge them after that," Powers said.

The loss snapped a brief two-game Wolf Pack winning streak and dropped Powers' struggling ball club to 8-17 on the year. Seattle, which lost all six of its games to the Wolf Pack last year, pulled even on the season at 12-12 with the come-from-behind victory.

The difference between the two teams was Spink.

The 6-foot-1 senior left-hander from Eagle River, Alaska was perfect against the Pack, retiring all 10 hitters to walk to the plate.

"He was tough to hit today," Powers said.

He was almost unhittable.

Spink threw 29 of his 35 pitches for strikes and fanned six to pick up the victory, his third of the year against two losses.

"All he threw were fastballs on the outer half of the plate," Powers said. "But he kept the ball down so you have to give him credit."

Spink struck out Joe Kohan, Brock Stassi and Brian Barnett in the ninth to wrap up the victory.

Spink's performance was in direct contrast to a year ago when he struggled through two appearances against the Pack. The Pack roughed him up both times, banging out 10 hits in 4.1 innings combined and scoring 10 runs off the left-hander.

Spink started against the Wolf Pack on April 2, 2010 and allowed seven hits and eight runs in 3.2 innings in a 12-10 loss and pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief on April 16 and allowed three hits and two runs in an 11-5 loss to the Pack on April 16, 2010.

"He must have had something that was hard to pick up," said Powers, explaining Spink's mastery over the Pack on Friday.

The Pack, though, didn't have any problems with Seattle starter Max Whieldon. The 6-foot-10 Whieldon gave up six hits and five runs in two innings.

Barnett keyed a three-run Wolf Pack first inning with a two-run triple and Kohan and Stassi each had run-scoring doubles in the second inning off Whieldon.

The Pack then took a 7-2 lead with two runs in the third inning off Redhawks reliever Arlo Evasick. Garrett Yrigoyen was hit by a pitch, stole second and later scored on an error to give the Pack a 6-2 lead and a sacrifice fly by Nick Melino scored Curtis Frisbie to make the score 7-2.

Seattle, though, scored five times in the sixth off Pack starter Tom Jameson and Tim Culligan to tie the game. The Redhawks then pushed across a run in the seventh off Pack reliever Mat Keplinger on two hits to take an 8-7 lead.

Keplinger took the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year.

The Wolf Pack simply stopped hitting over the final six innings against Spink and Evan Ewing. Ewing stabilized the game for the Redhawks, holding the Pack scoreless on two hits for 3.1 innings in relief of Whieldon and Evasick.

The Wolf Pack defense kept the game close in the eighth and ninth innings. Yrigoyen turned a double play at third base in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and Kohan did the same at second base in the ninth with two runners on base to bail Pack reliever Troy Marks out of trouble both times.

The Wolf Pack defense converted a season-high four double plays in the game. It is the most double plays by the Pack defense in a game since they also had four against Pacific on Feb. 27, 2010.

The Redhawks and Wolf Pack will meet again on Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.) at Peccole Park.

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