April 2, 2012

Tigers Rally For Walk-Off Win Over Nevada

Stockton, Calif. – Jason Taasaas stroked a single past the diving first baseman in the bottom of the ninth to plate the tying and winning runs as Pacific walked-off with a 6-5 win over Nevada Monday night.

Trailing 5-4 with one-out in the ninth, the Tigers loaded the bases off Nevada RHP Colby Blueberg as junior 3B Dustin Torchio beat out a chopper up the middle. Redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood poked and opposite field single to right, advancing Torchio's pinch runner, senior Brett Christopher, to second. Blueberg hit junior DH Tyger Pederson to load the bases, and RHP Jayson McClaren was summoned from the pen to face Taasaas.

On the first pitch he saw, Taasaas slashed a line drive toward first, just inside the foul line. Wolf Pack 1B Kewby Meyer dove, but as the ball shot past him into right, Taasaas threw his hands into the air as Christopher and Lockwood scored to give the Tigers the walk-off win.

Half the Tigers from the dugout mobbed Lockwood at home, and soon joined with the rest of their teammates between first and second as the bullpen emptied to join the celebration.

Senior RHP John Prato Matthews picked up the win in relief, as he tossed the final shutout three innings, allowing a pair of hits with three strikeouts. Of his 33 pitches, 24 went for strikes as he improves to 2-4.

Senior LHP Joe Spizzirri added 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out two while not allowing a hit.

Taasaas, the sophomore catcher, finished the night three-for-five with a pair of RBI and a run scored, while Torchio went three-for-three with a pair of walks. Lockwood picked up three hits in five trips, driving in a pair of runs. Pederson tallied an RBI on one hit, while freshman LF Jacob Goulder added a hit, a walk and a RBI.

The Tigers jumped on the board in the second, as Taasaas singled with one out and senior RF Daniel Johnston doubled to right center. Goulder hit a sharp grounder up the middle to plate Taasaas for a 1-0 lead.

In the Pacific third, freshman 2B Robby Mansfield singled, and following a Torchio walk, Lockwood singled to the hole in short. Pederson followed with a single to left as Mansfield scored to make it 2-0. But Nevada starter RHP Troy Marks recorded the strikeout to strand the bases loaded.

In the Wolf Pack fourth, Nevada tallied all five of their runs, as DH Tyler Wells walked and Meyer doubled to center to cut the Tigers lead to 2-1. 1B Austin Byler singled home Meyer to knot the game at two, and after a bunt singled and a double-steal, Spizzirri replaced Tiger starter RHP Bryce Lombardi. 2B Joe Kohan was walked to load the bases, and Spizzirri issued a pair of free passes via a hit batter and walk before striking out C Carlos Escobar, Jr. to end the inning.

All five runs were charged to Lombardi, who finished with 3.1 innings, five earned runs on four hits, four walks and a strikeout.

The Tigers chipped into the lead in the fourth, chasing Marks as Goulder singled to short and senior SS Garrett Borba doubled to deep left. RHP Garrett Kirsch entered from the Nevada bullpen, and picked up a pair of outs before walking Torchio. Lockwood delivered a single to right center to bring home a pair of runs and close the gap to 5-4.

Both bullpens posted zeroes over the next four innings, as Nevada used six pitchers on the night.

The Tigers improve to 9-19 overall on the season, while Nevada falls to 15-12.

Pacific will open a three-game split site series against San Jose State on Thursday at 6 p.m. The first two games will be held at the Tigers' home, Klein Family Field, before Saturday's finale in San Jose.