Pieces starting to fall into place for Wolf Pack | NevadaAppeal.com

Pieces starting to fall into place for Wolf Pack

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

 The Nevada Wolf Pack’s starting lineup is taking shape.

 The Pack went into the 2010 season with a ton of questions. A month into the season only a few of those questions remain.

 The Pack has seemingly found three of its four weekend starters in Chris Garcia, Brock Stassi and Jeremy Cole, a closer in Tyler Graham, an infield first to third of Shaun Kort, Joe Kohan, Kevin Rodland and Nick Leid and an outfield left to right of Brian Barnett, Westley Moss and either Ronnie Mitchell or Brett Hart.

 The biggest questions facing the Pack with the Western Athletic Conference just 10 days away are the No. 4 starter and some bullpen arms to get to Graham in the late innings.

 The job of No. 4 starter will likely be a revolving door all year. But the Pack does have a handful of intriguing candidates.

 Beau Witsoe, who struggled in  starting role, could return to the rotation after a couple of solid relief appearances. Reno High graduate Tom Jameson looked sharp in his two innings on Sunday and Tyler Rogstad just needs to build up his endurance after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.

 Carson High graduate Tony Fagan, who has given up just two runs in 5.1 innings this year, also could see his role increase as he returns from surgery a year ago. Fagan, though, is struggling with his command (five walks in 5,1 innings) as he also returns from a year off because of surgery. North Valleys graduate Jerad Harvey will also battle for playing time in meaningful situations.

 STASSI ALMOST PERFECT: Designated hitter Brock Stassi came within a fly out to right in his final at-bat on Sunday of having a perfect weekend at the plate this weekend.

 The junior left-hander was 7-for-8 with a double, three triples and a home run in the three  games against UC Irvine. Irvine intentionally walked Stassi in consecutive at-bats (with a runner on second each time) after his second-inning double on Sunday.

 Stassi leads the Wolf Pack in hitting at .441 and with a .578 on base percentage. Stassi has also been intentionally walked a team-high three times.

 SPEEDY PACK: The Wolf Pack, despite stealing just one base in the three games against Irvine, is on pace to steal its most bases in a season since it joined the WAC in 2001.

 The Pack has stolen 38 bases this year (Westley Moss has 12, Kevin Rodland has 10) and is on pace to steal nearly 100 bases.

 Both Moss and Rodland have a chance to break Chris Prieto’s team record of 35 stolen bases in 1993. Waymon Brown (33 in 1984) is the only other Pack player to steal at least 30 bases in a year.

 The 2006 Pack team, led by Durell Williams with 20, stole 65 bases, the most since the Pack joined the WAC.

 The 1984 team holds the school record with 114 stolen bases. That team was led by Brown, Bill Sherman (19), Rob Richie (13), Ted Bello (13) and Ted Higgins (12). The Wolf Pack last stole 100 or more bases in 1992. That team stole 105 bases and had seven players with nine or more stolen bases. Chris Singleton led the 1992 team with 13.

 KORT ONE OF PACK’S ALL-TIME BEST: Senior first baseman Shaun Kort is establishing himself as one of the best Pack hitters in history.

 Kort is now tied with Dean Bonfigli (1990-93) and Rob Richie (1984-87) for seventh place in games played with 198. He will likely finish his career as the Pack’s all-time leader in games played, breaking Matt Maguire’s (1999-02) record of 225.

 Kort also is on pace to challenge Lyle Overbay’s (1996-99) record of 864 at-bats.

 Kort’s 259 hits is currently fifth. He could finish as one of just three Pack players in history with 300 or more hits. Joe Inglett (1997-00) had 321 and Overbay had 309 to lead the Pack.

 Kort is also fifth in walks with 108 and fifth in RBI with 197. His 60 doubles are currently third and just eight behind Matt Bowman’s (2005-08) record of 68.

 POWERS CLOSE TO MILESTONE: Wolf Pack coach Garey Powers will coach his 1,500th game on Tuesday when the Pack hosts UNLV at Peccole Park (4 p.m.).

 Powers has a career record of 832-663-4. Powers, in his 28th season, is the longest tenured coach in Wolf Pack history.

 PACK NOT MAKING CONTACT: Wolf Pack hitters have struck out 177 times this year and are on pace to fan nearly 450 times. It would be the most for the Pack since the 2002 team fanned 465 times.

 Rodland and Brian Barnett currently lead the Pack with 26 strikeouts and are on pace to fan 65 times. Tony Cappuccilli (63 strikeouts in 2003), Erick Streelman (61 in 2004) and Shawn Scobee (60 in 2005) are the only Pack players to strike out 60 or more times since Powers took over the program in 1983.

 DROPPING THE BALL: The Wolf Pack has committed 32 errors this year and is on pace for about 80.

 The most errors the Pack had made since joining the WAC in 2001 is 91 in 2002. The Pack made just 69 errors in 2008 and 70 last year.

 The 2003 team made just 65 errors, the Pack’s lowest since joining the WAC.

 THE WEEK AHEAD: The Wolf Pack will play five more games on this current eight-game homestand.

 The Pack will host UNLV on Tuesday (4 p.m.) and Seattle on Thursday (2 p.m.), Friday (2 p.m.) and Saturday (noon). UC Davis comes to Peccole Park on April 5 for a 2:30 p.m. game.

 The games on Thursday and Friday against Seattle and the Davis game reflect time changes. The Thursday and Friday games against Seattle were originally scheduled as 6 p.m. starts but a forecast of cold weather for northern Nevada later in the week prompted the switch to an earlier start time.

 The Davis game on April 5 was also originally scheduled for 6 p.m. but the Pack and Aggies did not want to go up against the NCAA men’s basketball championship game that night.

 The Wolf Pack will also play an exhibition game against the Triple-A Reno Aces at Aces Ballpark on April 6 (6 p.m.).