RENO - When you look at recent baseball history at Nevada, one of the things that stands out is the school's success with bounce-back transfers.
Tim Schoeninger, Jason Sadoian, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Zach Basch, Konrad Schmidt and Ryan Strain are just a few that have excelled for the Pack after starting their careers elsewhere.
Nevada has become a second home to disgruntled players. It's become a haven for players looking for a fresh start.
"We've been very fortunate," Nevada coach Gary Powers said Friday after Nevada scrimmaged Feather River. "Usually the guys coming in have had good attitudes; quality guys. They have been guys when given a chance have risen to the occasion. They know it might be there last opportunity."
And, sophomore infielder Kevin Rodland is hoping to keep that tradition alive in his new home.
Rodland, who transferred from Arizona, is battling freshman Garrett Patterson for the starting job at shortstop.
"Jason (Sadoian) was in Arizona last fall and we played together then," Rodland said. "He came here (to Nevada). I was telling him that I was looking to get out, and he told me the team needed a shortstop.
"I still hadn't made up my mind when I went home for the summer. I decided to leave and asked the coach for my release. He sent out word to the schools I was interested in."
The list included Nevada, Texas Tech, UC Irvine and San Diego State. He made five recruiting visits in two weeks, and decided on the Wolf Pack.
"That (playing time) was a big part of it," Rodland said. "Southern California (the area) was very attractive. UC Irvine had a great season last year.
"I wanted to go somewhere where I would have the opportunity to play right away and make a big impact. The coaches here have been honest with me. Coach (Jay) Uhlman has been great. He's a big reason I'm here."
With Greg Siewert gone, the job is probably Rodland's to lose as long as he takes care of business. That was something he didn't have in Arizona. He felt that he never got a fair shake there, which led to his transfer.
"I was playing shortstop, and when I got back from Christmas break they brought in another shortstop. I was playing second base. A junior second baseman got academically ineligible , and I started the first 11 games. When he came back, I got benched. That's why my numbers started dropping. I would pinch-hit here and there and go in for defense."
Rodland finished the season at .170, but he says that's not indicative of his ability, and Powers agreed.
"I don't think you can get consistent when you don't play consistently," Powers said. "You're going to hit more consistently when you play regular; get regular at-bats.
"As long as he stays short to the ball, he'll be OK. He's hit the ball like he did today on and off during the fall. He has really quick hands."
Rodland said he's been working daily with Powers and assistant coach Gary McNamara.
"He (Powers) has been harping on that; not getting out on my front foot," Rodland said. "At the beginning it was a struggle. My strength is my hands."
Now, all Rodland has to do is stay ahead of the surging Patterson, who is solid in the field.
"Garrett has done a great job," Powers said. "We're also working him at second, so we have some versatility up the middle."
Powers said Patterson is having the normal problems freshmen face when going to the next level, but he has every confidence that he will be a good hitter.
•Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281