PHOENIX, Ariz. – Senior Bryce Greager hit a two-run home run and added a career-high five RBI as Nevada tallied its third straight win, defeating Arizona State by an 11-5 margin on Tuesday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The Wolf Pack improved to 3-2 on the season while handing the Sun Devils (4-1) their first loss.
Head coach T.J. Bruce and the Pack opened an eight-run lead in the fourth running before eclipsing 10 runs for the third consecutive game. Senior RHP Sam Held took the win on the mound in his first career start, allowing two runs in four innings. Greager – a native of nearby Fountain Hills, Ariz. – led the Pack with five RBI while sophomoreJordan Pearce went 3-of-5 at the plate and redshirt freshman Keaton Smith added two hits and two RBI.
Nevada has now tallied three wins in four days over power-five schools. The Wolf Pack improves to 3-0 all-time against Arizona State while notching its first win over a Pac-12 opponent since defeating Utah, 11-1, on April 27, 2014.
“Arizona State is a good team and this is a tough place to play, yet our guys were composed and took care of business in terms of playing Nevada baseball,” said Bruce. “I can’t say enough about Sam (Held) in his first start. He did his job and passed it along to the next guy. Ty (Pennington) came in and shut the door. Bryce (Greager) also had a great game at the plate in front of his hometown.”
The Wolf Pack got off to a hot start, plating four runs on four hits in the first inning. Junior Justin Bridgman hit a lead-off single and scored on junior Trenton Brooks’ RBI triple. Brooks then scored on a sacrifice fly from Greager. Smith then made it 4-0 with a two-RBI single through the middle of the infield.
The Sun Devils got on the board with one run in the bottom of the second frame, but the Pack responded with two runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Facing a 2-2 count, Greager hit a two-RBI home run over the left field fence for his eighth career homer.
Nevada followed with three runs in the top of the fourth to improve its lead to 9-1. Greager did more damage at the plate with a bases loaded, two-RBI single to left field. Sophomore Jordan Pearce plated the Pack’s ninth run with an RBI single to score Brooks.
Arizona State rallied with one run in the fourth and three in the fifth to trim Nevada’s lead to 9-5. Held allowed one run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly before being relieved. ASU’s Colby Woodmansee’s hit a three-run home run on senior RHP Alex Lott in the fifth inning to trim Nevada’s lead to four runs. Senior LHP Cameron Rowland ended the threat for Nevada, stranding two runners on base with a strikeout.
After junior RHP Evan McMahan settled Nevada down with a pair of scoreless innings, Nevada added two insurance runs in the eighth inning to take an 11-5 lead. JuniorBrandon Evans drew a walk and Bridgman reached on an error before junior Miles Mastrobuoni scored both with a two-RBI single up the middle.
Junior RHP Ty Pennington slammed the door shut on the Sun Devils with consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth frames. Nevada used five pitchers in the contest, limiting Arizona State to five runs on nine hits.
The Pack scored 11 runs on 10 hits as Pearce (3-of-5), Greager (2-of-5) and Smith (2-of-4) led the team with multi-hit games.
Nevada returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at UC Irvine on Feb. 26-28 at Anteater Ballpark. First pitch times for the Pack (3-2) and Anteaters (2-3) are set for 6 p.m. PT Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.