For five innings, he Carson Senators seemed to be one hit away from busting the game wide open, leaving nine baserunners stranded.
Then came the sixth, and the Senators went wild.
Joe Nelson hit a tie-breaking single and Brandon Allen slammed a three-run homer to highlight a five-run inning to spark Carson to an 8-3 win over Truckee on the opening day of the Mike Bearman Invitational Thursday at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson returns to action today with two games, both on the road. The Senators play at Reed at 2 and at Reno at 6.
“We were one hit away the majority of the game,” CHS coach Brian Manoukian said. “We didn’t get the piece of the puzzle. I thought we swung the bat OK (10 hits). I think we were over aggressive in the early innings, but we stayed with it and got it done. It was a good win.”
Allen, who had a successful debut behind the plate, agreed.
“I think we came out slow,” he said. “Truckee put up a little more fight than we expected. We have a good team and I knew we’d come back. I thought as a team we hit the ball well; a lot of line drives.”
If one judged this one by the opening inning, it looked like it would be a 15-12 slugfest, as Carson’s Bryce Moyle and Truckee’s J.J. Bellon got off to slow starts.
Moyle gave up a first-pitch double to lead-off hitter Gavin Broad, and two errors later, the Wolverines had taken a 2-0. Moyle also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. He walked three batters over the next two innings, but escaped any further damage.
“His arm slot was a little low, and he was on top of the ball,” Manoukian said.
His teammates took him off the hook with three first-inning runs.
Conner Pradere, who walked three times and scored twice, walked and stole second and third. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Josiah Pongasi. Nelson reached on an infield single and moved to third when Allen’s fly ball into the right-centerfield was dropped. Terek Been followed with a two-run single to put the Senators ahead 3-2.
Been stole second and went to third on a fly ball to center by Seamus Burns. He was stranded when John Holton was retired on a fly to right.
Carson left the bases loaded in the third when Allen was picked off at first and Moyle grounded into a force play.
Cody Azevedo came on in the fourth, and he also had a tough start.
Connor Nicholas walked and was wild pitched to second. Azevedo got the next two outs before walking Broad. Conner Bullion followed with a run-scoring single, tying the game at 3.
Again, the Senators left runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth. It was especially frustrating in the fifth when Carson had runners at second and third but failed to score when Jesse Lopez grounded to third and Azevedo popped to second.
Azevedo settled down, retiring the Wolverines in order in the fifth and sixth.
He was rewarded for his efforts in the sixth.
Pradere walked and moved all the way around to third on Pongasi’s bunt down the line at third.
The Truckee shortstop failed to go to third, and Pradere made it easily. Nelson followed with single to right, driving in Pradere with what proved to be the winning run. It was his third hit of the game.
“I got a lot of swings (in Australia), so it wasn’t the first time I’d seen live pitching,” he said. “I figured we’d struggle a little offensively early.”
Allen followed with his homer to left-centerfield to score Pongasi and Nelson.
“I felt it,” Allen said. “It felt good off the bat.”
What was even more impressive was his work behind the plate. He did have a fielding error on a slow roller, but he received the ball well.
“It took some getting used to,” he said. “I got a little more comfortable as the game went on.”
Pongasi retired three straight hitters in the seventh to end it.