The Western Nevada baseball team found out in a hurry that playing in the Scenic West Athletic Conference can be a humbling experience.
After a better-than-expected weekend in which the Wildcats won three-of-four at College of Southern Nevada, WNC was swept on Friday at College of Southern Idaho.
After letting the first game slip away in a 3-2 loss, the Wildcats made six errors in losing the nightcap 9-4. An error also led to CSI's three-run game-winning rally in the sixth inning in the opener. WNC fell to 3-3 in conference play while CSI improved to 2-4.
In the opener, Kyle Starratt was working on a one-hit shutout while holding onto a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. But WNC opened up the inning with an error and Starratt went on to allow three runs on three hits.
Starratt almost got out of the inning with the score tied 2-2, but the Wildcats couldn't quite turn a double play with runners at first and third and one out, allowing the winning run to score. Andrew Reid came on to record the final out.
"Starratt pitched well and he was the victim of pretty poor defense," WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said.
WNC's cause wasn't helped any by the suspension of Jose Barajas, one of four suspended Wildcats who didn't play on Friday. While Barajas is eligible to play, Whittemore said the coaches believe he's not doing well academically enough and decided to suspend indefinitely until he makes enough academic progress.
Whittemore said Barajas would have pitched in the sixth in the opener. "Not having Barajas, that doesn't make us any better, that's for sure," Whittemore said. "We feel that he's one of the best relief pitchers in the conference."
The Wildcats scored in the third when Jerome Pena singled and Kevin Schlange followed with an RBI double. In the fourth, Brian Barnett singled and Davis Banks followed with an RBI double to make it 2-0. Banks went 2-for-3 and Logan Parsley added a hit.
In the nightcap, CSI scored three unearned runs in the first on its way to taking a 7-0 lead. Josh Moody struck out five over 3.2 innings. "He had his roughest outing of the year," Whittemore said.
Creveling struck out four over 3.2 innings and Pena got the final two outs, striking out one.
WNC closed to within 7-2 in the fifth and had the bases loaded when Banks lined out to end the inning. In the sixth, McQueen's Travis Reynolds made a game-changing play for CSI.
The Wildcats had closed to 8-4 and had runners at first and second with no outs when Banks hit a shot down the third base line. But Reynolds made a diving stop and went on to turn a double play.
WNC also had three hits in the seventh and failed to score. "We darn near battled our way back into it a couple different times," Whittemore said.
Pena went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, Parsley was 2-for-4 with an RBI triple, Ray was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Travis Feiner was 2-for-4 and Barnett added a hit for WNC. Reynolds had two hits for CSI.
"We've got to give a lot of credit to Southern Idaho," Whittemore said. "They just wanted it a little more than us. We've got to have a more consistent approach."
WNC will try to bounce back today when it finishes the series at CSI with a doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m. The Wildcats still have top starter Kyle Farrell set to take the mound today. "I'm certain we're going to play better," Whittemore said.
Note: Shortstop Kyle Gutchewsky, catcher Chuck Howard and pitcher Matt Klein were the other players suspended for Fridays games. All three are available today.