RENO — The start of a six-game week for the Carson Blue Jays began with a thud.
The Reno Knights scored seven runs in the first two innings en route to a 12-1 win over Carson Tuesday afternoon at Zunini Field.
The loss dropped Carson to 5-7 in summer play. The Blue Jays start play in the Manogue tournament Thursday at 9 a.m. against the Vipers. Carson will play once on Thursday, twice on Friday and once each on Saturday and Sunday.
With that in mind, Carson coach Bryan Manoukian used a pitch-by-committee approach against the powerful Knights. Manoukian used six different pitchers — Joe Nelson, Bryce Moyle, Cody Azevedo, John Holton, Terek Been and Brandon Allen. Azevedo and Allen were the only hurlers to escape unscathed.
“We have five games in four days,” Manoukian said. “I didn’t want to use anybody today and then not have them for the tournament. I’m not bringing anybody up from the B squad. We’ll be fine as long as our guys throw strikes.”
Manoukian is certainly hopeful his team doesn’t dig itself an early hole as it did Tuesday.
Starter Joe Nelson walked Garrett Gouldsmith and wild-pitched him to third, Gouldsmith scored on a single by Jack Clouthier. Austin Atkerson, the only college player on the Reno roster, sent Clouthier to third when he grounded out to second base, Hayes Riedeman followed with a run-scoring single up the middle. Brock Tsukamoto pounded a homer to right-centerfield to make it 4-0. The Knights put runners at first and second with two outs, but Bradley Thomas rolled out to second to end the inning.
Gouldsmith singled to open the second against Moyle. Gouldsmith stole second and advanced to third when catcher Kyle Krebs’ throw sailed high and went off the tip of Josiah Pongasi’s glove. Clouthier followed with another run-scoring single to make it 5-0. Atkerson singled and Riedeman moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Nick Cibula drove in both runners with a single to center for a 7-0 lead.
“When you don’t throw strikes or don’t get your glove on balls, that’s what is going to happen,” Manoukian said.
The 7-0 cushion was more than enough for Matt Lawn, son of Nevada pitching coach David Lawn, He struck out three, hit a batter and allowed six hits. He worked fast, and Carson hitters allowed him to stay in that rhythm for six innings. Other than the third when Carson scored its only run, the Blue Jays advanced runners to second four times, but couldn’t come up with a clutch hit.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Manoukian said. “He pounded the strike zone, and it’s hard to come back when a pitcher is doing that. He doesn’t make many mistakes. He got a couple of big ground balls that they turned into double plays.”
Those came in the second and sixth when Carson put runners at first and second.
Carson scored its only run in the third when Connor Pradere doubled to right and scored on Moyle’s double to left, a ball that Cibula should have caught if he’d taken the proper angle to the ball. Lawn retired Nelson and Jace Keema to end the inning. After Moyle’s double, Lawn retired nine of the next 10 hitters before Pongasi reached on an error.
Reno finished with two in the fourth off Holton and three in the fifth against Terek Been, who was hit in the shoulder by a line drive and removed from the mound. Allen threw the final 1 2/3 innings.
Manoukian said he’s undecided about his Thursday starter.