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Wildcats sweep past No. 1 Coyotes Friday

HENDERSON ” It couldn’t happen again. There’s no way the Western Nevada College Baseball team could beat Tyler Lavigne again. But it did happen.

This isn’t the same WNC team that struggled through the first month of the season with virtually no outdoor practice. And the Wildcats certainly weren’t intimidated by the No. 1 team in the nation.

Just like last year in the regional playoffs on their way to the JUCO World Series, the Wildcats rallied against Lavigne, one of the nation’s top relief pitchers, scoring five runs in the seventh inning for a 6-1 win in the opener of a doubleheader on Friday at CSN.

Kyle Starratt threw five shutout innings as WNC picked up a huge victory, winning a game in which CSN ace Colby Shreve was on the mound.

Then Josh Moody followed up Starratt’s masterpiece by throwing six shutout innings as the Wildcats finished up the improbable sweep, beating the Coyotes 5-2 in the nightcap.

“It’s sweet,” Starratt said. “You’ve got to love beating CSN.”

Starratt came into the game with a 4.87 earned run average while Shreve was 3-0 with a 1.42 E.R.A. But Starratt actually outpitched Shreve. He was able to keep the ball down, something he hasn’t been able to do at times this season.

“It definitely feels good,” Starratt said. “It was a team effort. Everyone did their job.

“I had to get out of that keeping the ball up. It worked well for me.”

Shreve came into the game allowing just 2.5 hits per seven innings, but WNC was able to eclipse that with three hits in the second inning. Brian Barnett singled and went to third on a hit and run when Davis Banks singled. Chuck Howard followed with an RBI single to give WNC a 1-0 lead.

Shreve, though, went on to shut down WNC through 5.2 innings as his fastball reached 93 miles an hour. In the sixth, Howard singled and he moved to third on a hit and run on Travis Feiner’s single.

But Howard was thrown out trying to score on Kyle Gutchewsky’s sacrifice bunt. Shreve was pulled for Egan Smith, who got a strikeout to end the inning.

Jose Barajas came on in the bottom of the sixth, but walked Devin Shepherd to begin the inning. Pinch runner Robbie Garvey then stole second. WNC was then the victim of bad luck when third baseman Davis Banks had Garvey hung out to dry on a groundball. But Banks’ throw to second hit Garvey and CSN ended up with runners at first and third with one out.

Garvey scored to tie the game 1-1 on a double play and Barajas got a strikeout to end the inning.

WNC’s rally in the seventh began when Andrew Reid reached on an error. Smith was then pulled for Lavigne.

But Lavigne uncorked a wild pitch on his first pitch and then gave up back-to-back RBI doubles to Barnett and Lance Ray.

WNC then received the benefit of a break when Banks reached on a bad hop single. When the lob throw got away at first, Ray was able to score all the way from second.

Howard then chased Lavigne with a single that gave WNC runners at first and third with one out. Banks scored when Travis Feiner perfectly executed a sacrifice bunt and Kyle Gutchewsky followed with an RBI double to make it 6-1.

Barajas retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. Howard had three hits and Banks, Barnett and Feiner all added two hits for WNC.

WNC 5, CSN 2

Moody, who came in at 0-2 with a 5.79 E.R.A., allowed three hits and struck out seven.

“It feels great,” Moody said. “It feels awesome. It feels good coming in against the No. 1 team. I worked real hard at throwing at the knees all week.”

“Those two starters have been working really hard,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore about Starratt and Moody. “They’ve been making adjustments.”

The Wildcats scored all their runs in the second. Chuck Howard singled and advanced to second. After Jerome Pena got ahead in the count 3-0, CSN decided to intentionally walk him.

That was a mistake, as Logan Parsley followed with a two-run triple and scored on Barnett’s single after Reid was hit by a pitch. Barnett then stole second, and after the throw was short-hopped, Reid was able to score. Ray followed with an RBI double to make it 5-0.

WNC had a chance to bust the game open in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. But former Damonte Ranch standout got out of the jam with the help of a spectacular diving catch by Devin Shepherd down the right field line. The play robbed Pena of a bases-clearing extra base hit.

Creveling came on and allowed a run on a misplayled flyball in the seventh and a run on a passed ball in the ninth. After walking two batters to bring the tying run to the plate, Whittemore went to Reid, who got a groundball to end the inning and then pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save.

Ray had three hits, Reid had two hits, including a double, Barnett had two hits, Gutchewsy doubled and Feiner and Banks each added a hit for WNC (8-7, 2-0 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference). Gardner pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for CSN (11-6, 0-2).

Notes: CSN began conference play at 0-2 for the first time in school history. Today’s doubleheader, which begins at noon, can be heard at http://www.csn.edu/athletics.