Instead, Reed pieced together a little bit of its bullpen and earned a series split with an 8-7 come-from-behind home victory.
Reed relievers Kevin Koszuth and Thomas Sertic held the Lancers to one hit while blanking them over the final 3 2-3 innings, allowing the offense to mount a comeback in its final at-bat.
Trailing 7-5, heading into the bottom of the sixth, Reed got one run on a wild pitch in the dirt. With two outs and the bases loaded, McQueen relieved starter Sam Gamboa. Nowaczewski made sure he wasn’t saddled with the pitching loss by welcoming reliever Randy Hutton into the game with a go-ahead two-run single to left field.
Sertic took the mound in the seventh and slammed the door with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning for the save.
“I feel comfortable with it (the bullpen). We got a chance to close it with Sertic. It’s big because Mark didn’t have it,” Reed baseball coach John Phenix said. “Those guys stepped up. Kevin kept us right there.”
Reed’s chances of earning its second league series split didn’t look promising early on.
Nowaczewski never got settled. He walked the first batter of the game and that started the first of back-to-back three-run rallies for the Lancers.
Jared Brandstatler followed with a bloop single to shallow center field.
A flyout to center field went for the first out, but the next fly ball would not be contained by the outfield fences.
Nate Gadbsy launched a towering shot down the left-field line that cleared the fence for a three-run homer. McQueen had to settle for the 3-0 lead after stranding two runners following the home run.
The Raiders rallied for a trio of runs to tie it up after the first frame.
Brett Chaney worked his way on with a leadoff walk. Jonathan Pinto laced a single to right field.
After Gamboa recorded two straight strikeouts, a second wild pitch in the inning allowed Chaney to come home.
Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Brandon Koszuth, who ripped a line drive to first base. Gadsby dove to his right and got a glove on the ball, but he couldn’t squeeze it and two runs came around to score when the ball rolled away from him.
The Lancers answered right back with three more runs. Two runs scored on Kody Reynolds’ hard one-hopper past shortstop. Reynolds ended up on second after the throw went home.
Gadsby singled through the hole between shortstop and third, putting runners on the corners. Sam Higley doubled down the right-field line, driving in Reynolds for a 6-3 advantage.
Gadsby and Higley both had two hits in their first two at-bats, but went hitless the rest of the contest.
Reed got one back in the bottom half of the second inning without the help of a hit, and got another run in the third off a line drive single up the middle by Tyler Starley with two outs, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
The northwest Reno school extended its lead back up to two, 7-5, on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth. Nowaczewski didn’t make it through the inning, working 3 1-3 innings. He gave up seven runs on seven hits. He struck out five, walked four and hit a batter.
Gamboa picked up the hard-luck loss. He allowed eight runs on six hits, but seven walks and two hit batsmen made it a long night. Gamboa finished with seven strikeouts but threw 110 pitches.
Both Nowaczewski and Brandon Koszuth went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Raiders.
Reed (6-3, 2-2) opens a D-I North league series at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Manogue.
“I’ll tell you one thing, if we have the opportunity to score, we’ve got to put the ball in play,” Phenix said of the series with the Miners. “We’ve left some opportunities on the bases, and we can’t do that against any team. We were fortunate in a couple situations. We’ve got to pitch good, get ahead in the count and play good defense. The game is going to be different here compared to out there because of the size of the park. We’re going to have to play good defense because they will put the ball in play.”