Jed Soto always likes to come back to Reno. His homecoming has been especially nice so far.
Soto, the Saint Mary's head baseball coach, watched his team beat the University of Nevada 5-2 on Friday at Peccole Park. Soto served as an assistant coach under Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers at Nevada before going on to establish Feather River as a California Community College power. He's in his second year as coach of the Gaels and looks to be well on his way to developing that program as well.
Saint Mary's came in at 3-10, but four of the losses came in extra innings, including two to Long Beach State and one to California. Another tough part of the Gaels' season is they've had nine home games rained out.
"It's always nice to come back to Reno," Soto said. "I love this yard. It's nice just to be playing. Nevada's a great team. They're contact hitters."
But Saint Mary's Kevin Trochez kept Nevada off balance for the most part with his changeup, scattering 10 hits over 7.1 innings while allowing just two runs for the win. Chris Mezzavilla recored the last five outs to pick up the save for Saint Mary's.
Nevada wasted an outstanding effort by Tim Schoeninger, who kept Nevada in the game before tiring in the ninth inning. He allowed five runs over 8.2 innings.
"I thought both pitchers did a heckuva job," Powers said. "He (Schoeninger) did his job. He kept us in a position to win the game."
But Powers said he wasn't pleased with the approach his hitters took against Trochez, especially early in the game.
"Offensively we were just out of synch," he said. "I thought we had a poor approach. I don't think we did a good job early in the game."
Nevada failed to take advantage of a golden chance in the first after it loaded the bases with one out on the strength of Brett Hayes' double and Jacob Butler's single. But Shawn Scobee struck out and Baker Krukow grounded a changeup weekly to the right side when he was ahead in the count to end the inning.
The Gaels took a 1-0 lead on Preston Young's RBI double. The Wolf Pack came back to tie the game in the bottom of the second when Ryan Sharman led off with a double. Bub Madrid moved Sharman to third with a grounder to the right side and Sharm scored on Robert Marcial's groundout.
Delaney Gallagher's RBI double gave Saint Mary's a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Nevada tied the score in the sixth when Scobee singled and eventually scored on Marcial's infield single.
Saint Mary's took a 3-2 lead in the seventh when Young doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a groundout. Nevada wasted an excellent chance to come back in the eighth.
Scobee walked and Krukow singled to give the Wolf Pack runners at first and second with no outs. But Scobee was thrown out at third on Sharman's sacrifice bunt attempt. Mezzavilla then came in to induce Madrid into hitting into an inning-ending double play.
Shoeninger allowed two runs in the ninth, including Cody Nelson's homer. The damage could have been worse if Shoeninger hadn't picked off a runner at third and Saint Mary's didn't have another runner thrown out at second.
Butler had two hits, including a double, Krukow had two hits and Madrid and Derek McNeil each added a hit for Nevada. Krukow, who caught Shoeninger for most of the game, said the pitcher deserved better. "Our guy threw well enough to win," Krukow said. "He should have won."
Game Notes: Fernley's Tyler Selden, who played for Soto at Feather River, transferred from that school to Saint Mary's where he's a junior this year. "It's the kind of coaching style I like to play for," said Selden about playing for Soto. "It works great for me." Selden, a first baseman, has started one game and is 1-for-6 (.167) so far this season...Dayton's Matt Bowman and Douglas High's Austin Graham didn't see action on Friday for Nevada. Graham has yet to have an at-bat for the Wolf Pack this year while Bowman has gotten one start and is 1-for-6 on the season.