Reno's Peterson silences Carson bats
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
Although Thursday was a painful day for Reno Huskies batters in their Sierra League opener at Ron McNutt Field, they returned the favor where it hurt most: on the scoreboard.
Carson starter Matt Rutledge and reliever Dustin Buttner combined to hit five Huskies with pitches, but it was Reno that came up with eight hits and a three-hit, complete game shutout performance from senior Keegan Peterson for a 7-0 victory.
Peterson struck out nine Carson batters to help the Huskies improve to 6-2 overall (1-0 in league) and drop the Senators to 8-6, 0-1.
"He did a good job getting ahead of the batters," Pete Savage, in his 15th season as head coach for the Huskies, said of Peterson. "He had a good fastball and curveball and his defense played behind him. He did a good job. He works real hard during the week on his conditioning. He's a quality pitcher. He came out today."Reno struck for five runs in a third inning that saw it send nine batters to the plate. First baseman Pat Gallagher drove in Austin Nyman and Thomas Wood - both of whom reached on singles - for a 2-0 lead.
Shawn Walters reached on a single before Drew Simpson (who went 2-for-2 and scored two runs) singled in Gallagher. Walters scored on error by second baseman Markus Adams, who is playing with a broken nose, and left fielder Cavin Hill's fielder's choice scored Simpson to make it 5-0.
"We gave up a five-run third inning and Rutledge had a tough time finding the release point on his curve," Carson coach Steve Cook said. "If you have a tough time with your offspeed pitch release point, you'll have a tough time on the hill. But he kept plugging away. They had that five-spot... It doesn't matter if they score one or eight - we scored none."
Rutledge allowed all seven runs (six earned) on seven hits, hit four batters, walked two and struck out three in six innings of work. He rebounded with a one, two, three fourth inning before surrendering a two-run homer in the fifth to Zach Sanford, whose 400-foot shot sailed over the center-field wall.
Buttner allowed one hit and hit one batter in one inning of relief.
"I like our team chemistry," Savage said. "They know we have to come out every day. We know Carson's a good club. We've had some good games. We respect their program."
According to Cook, that respect is mutual.
"Coach Savage did a great job getting his team ready," Cook said. "He probably has 12 more [players] that can do the same thing."
Catcher Paul Cagle (2-for-3) and shortstop Kyle Stone (1-for-3) accounted for all three of Carson's hits.
In the fourth Adams (0-for-3) led off by reaching second on an error by Reno third baseman Glenn Wallace. After Peterson struck out Stone, Cagle's single advanced Adams to third, but Peterson forced Rob Valerius into an inning-ending double play to second.
"We need to be a little more aggressive at the plate," Cook said. "Peterson...geez. He's got a great 12-to-6 [fastball]. He has a great curveball for a high school player. We gave up a five-spot. To try and chase a five-spot against Reno is a tall order."
Carson will travel to Reno High School on Saturday to face the Huskies in a doubleheader. Game one begins at 10 a.m.