Barnett verbally commits to Nevada |

Barnett verbally commits to Nevada

Brian Barnett could have waited a couple of months and likely could have had the chance to play at a “bigger” school.

But Barnett made it clear there was no “better” school for him than the University of Nevada. The former McQueen standout, who had a stellar season last spring as a freshman for Western Nevada College, has verbally committed to play baseball at Nevada.

Barnett joins pitcher Josh Moody, who coming off an outstanding season at WNC as well, verbally committed to Arizona State over the summer. Both will sign with their respective schools in November and then complete their sophomore years at WNC before joining their four-year programs as juniors.

Although, Moody could also have the optiong of signing a pro contract. Barnett also could be drafted, but as of now it’s unlikely that he would be drafted high enough to pass up the Wolf Pack.

Against some of the nation’s top pitching in the Scenic West Athletic Conference with wood bats, Barnett had a stellar season last spring, hitting .364 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI.

It was those kinds of stats that led WNC coach D.J. Whittemore to make a bold prediction.

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“He’s going to hit 20 home runs,” said Whittemore about what Barnett could do in a season at Nevada. “I don’t want to put pressure on him. That aluminum bat is going to be a light sabre in his hands.”

For his part, Barnett played down Whittemore’s prediction. “I hope he’s right,” Barnett said. “That’s all I can say to that.

“I hope his guess is on. That would be a great season. I’m just going to work at it and see if I can hit that.”

Moody ended up up 8-4 with a 2.37 earned run average last season, striking out 73 in 79.2 innings.

“I’m really excited,” said Whittemore about Moody and Barnett. “They had great years last year. When guys produce you like them to be rewarded for it.”

Barnett has received interest from such Pac 10 schools as Arizona State and Washington State and the interest from those schools likely would have increased throughout the fall. Barnett said those schools were “bigger ” not so much better.”

“Of course that crossed my mind,” said Barnett about possibly waiting for a better offer from a Pac 10 school.

But Barnett said he was impressed with the interest that Nevada has already shown in him. “The big thing is just how much interest they showed,” he said.

He also said the chance to play at home in front of his family and friends was another factor.

“It’s tough for me to leave that,” said Barnett about his home. “This is my best option.”

Whittemore said Barnett would be “a great fit” at Nevada. Barnett played infield in high school and played mostly outfield at WNC last season, so he hasn’t ruled out playing any position at Nevada ” even catcher.

“They don’t have a set position,” said Barnett about Nevada’s plans for him. “I’ll play anywhere. I don’t want to be guaranteed anything.

“I want to prove myself. I’ll have to prove myself. I like that they’re giving me options. Hopefully I can find the most comfortable spot for me.”


WNC swept its opening doubleheader of the fall scrimmage season against the Las Vegas Metro Stars, a team consisting of top high school players in Southern Nevada, on Saturday at John L. Harvey Field. WNC won the opener 6-2 and the nightcap 8-3.

Jordan Blanchard started on the mound in the opener for WNC and faced the minimum of batters through two innings. He allowed a single that was wiped out by a double play and struck out three.

Jake Waardenburg allowed one run on one hit through two innings while striking out four.

After allowing an unearned run in the fifth, Jeff Barto escaped a bases loaded jam with no outs without allowing any more runs with two strikeouts and a groundout. Barto didn’t allow an earned run over two innings while striking out three. Kyle DiMartino retired the side in order in the seventh, striking out two.

Jeromo Pena led off the first inning with a inside-the-park home run to give WNC a 1-0 lead. WNC went up 3-1 in the fourth when Pena was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Lance Ray followed with an RBI groundout.

The Wildcats took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Daniel Zylstra’s safety squeeze. WNC went up 6-2 in the sixth on Marshall Kennebrew’s RBI single. Ray then scored on a double steal, running home from third on a throwing error on the play.

Mike Long went 3-for-3 with a triple and Travis Feiner, Oscar Rodriquez and Brett Moravec all added a hit for the Wildcats.

In the nightcap, Kramer Champlin started and pitched two scoreless innings, alowoing one hit and striking out two. Jordan Lewis also pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Lewis received defensive help from Pena in centerfield when he threw out a runner trying to score from second.

Wil Schumacher was roughed up in the fifth as he allowed a double, RBI single and RBI triple. A run then scored on a passed ball that cut WNC’s lead to 4-3. But Schumacher settled down after that and got the next three outs without any more damage.

Eric Maupin didn’t allow a run over 1 2/3 innings, striking out three. DiMartino came on to record the final out with a strikeout.

Jay Skilton homered in the second and Feiner had an RBI single to give WNC a 2-0 lead in the third. Barnett’s two-run double made it 4-0 in the fourth.

In the sixth, Barnett doubled and Ray followed with an RBI single. Ray went on to score on a double steal that made it 6-3.

To give the teams a chance to plan an extra half inning, the bottom of the seventh was also played and WNC added two more runs. Mike Stiles had an RBI triple and scored on an RBI groundout.

Barnett and Skilton each had two hits and Pena added a hit. Ray finished the doubleheader with four stolen bases.

The two teams will play again today in a scheduled nine-inning contest at 11 a.m. at John L. Harvey Field.