Bowman goes 3-for-4 in Nevada’s win
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – If one were to summarize the woes that had contributed to the Nevada baseball team’s rough start heading into Wednesday’s game with Northern Illinois, the list would read like this:
xx-Nevada had lost five of its last six games.
xx-It was struggling offensively.
xx-Its relief pitching was also struggling.
xx-It had seen too much bad weather.
While the Wolf Pack wasn’t in control of the weather – which was brisk, but decent – they did manage to turn around everything else and took a 5-3 victory over Northern Illinois at Peccole Park.
With the score 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh and Nevada pinch hitter Dan Eastham on first base, sophomore shortstop David Ciarlo knocked a first-pitch fastball off reliever Mark Badgley well over the left-field fence to give the Wolf Pack all the offense they would need the rest of the way.
“That’s about as far as I can hit the ball,” Ciarlo said of his bomb, which may have reached Evans Avenue based on its trajectory. “Coach (Gary Powers) has been adjusting my swing a little bit. He said I was rushing my swing. I turned on (the homer). I was just trying to get a base hit. (Third baseman) Matty (Bowman) and (right fielder Shawn) Scobee are on fire and I knew they’d pick me up if I got on.”
As it turned out, they didn’t need to.
Wolf Pack junior lefty Patrick Mason relieved starting pitcher Steve Taylor with two outs in the sixth and went on to pitch a hitless 2 1/3 innings for his first win of the season.
Mason struck out four batters and Wesley Dorsett picked up his first save, allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth.
“We could’ve been better on offense,” said Nevada coach Gary Powers, in his 24th season. “But we did enough when we needed to get more runs than they did. Patrick got ahead of the batters and threw strikes on a consistent basis. He changed speed well and took charge of the game. He stayed with it and was rewarded accordingly.”
The Wolf Pack and Huskies were due to begin their four-game series today, but Powers (whose team has lost three games to bad weather) and Northern Illinois coach Ed Mathey (whose team had been rained out of two games) agreed to add a fifth game for Wednesday.
Taylor (0-1) had a solid game, spreading out three runs and three hits over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out two and walking three for Nevada, which improved to 6-12 on the season.
After pitching a perfect 2 2/3 innings, Taylor walked Huskies left fielder Jeff Thomas, who entered the game with a blistering .450 batting average. After walking the next batter – second baseman Marc Besteman – Taylor gave up an RBI-single to Simon Scott, and the Huskies led 1-0.
But Taylor got right fielder Brian Toner to pop out to first to strand two runners and get out of the inning.
Northern Illinois, now 5-8 on the season, had its best inning in the fourth. After Taylor gave up a single to Huskies designated hitter Brian Smith, he was tagged for a long RBI-triple by catcher Matt Behren.
Shortstop Bobby Stevens followed with a sacrifice fly to give Northern Illinois a 3-0 lead, but Taylor got Pat Minogue to ground out to third to end the Huskies’ assault.
Nevada tried to rally in the bottom of the fourth, and DH Baker Krukow singled up the middle, scoring Dayton graduate Bowman from second. Bowman and Scobee led off the inning with back-to-back singles.
But after a nice sacrifice bunt by first baseman Terry Walsh advanced Scobee to third and Krukow to second, Huskies starter Trevor Feeney kept the score 3-1, striking out the Pack’s Leo Radkowski and getting catcher Jordan Opdyke to fly out to right.
Feeney pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits, while striking out four and walking one.
But Feeney got himself in a jam in the bottom of the sixth, giving up singles to Bowman and Scobee. Krukow advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Walsh knocked a grounder back to Feeney, who threw wildly to the plate trying to nail Bowman.The ball flew past Behren and both Bowman and Scobee scored unearned runs to tie it 3-3.
Mathey decided to platoon his pitchers, relieving Feeney with Dave Mykiel beginning in the seventh. After Mykiel got the Pack’s Durrell Williams to pop out to third, Mathey brought in Brandon Copp, who struck out pinch hitter Eastham, who reached first because it was a wild pitch and got past Behren.
In came Badgley, who gave up the first-pitch blast to Ciarlo. Andy Deain closed the game for Northern Illinois and Copp (0-1) took the loss for the Huskies.
“(The win) is great for us as a team,” said Ciarlo, who finished 2-for-4, with 2 RBIs and scored a run. “Winning close ones may be pushing us over the hump. We’re getting some runs and coming around. Steve and Patrick did a good job on the mound. Three runs in nine innings in college baseball – it’s hard to do better.”
Mason in turn credited his team’s offense for the win.
“Our hitters are coming through,” Mason said. “We got some key hits – Dave’s (home run), three hits from Scobee (he went 3-for-3) and Bowman (3-for-4) got on base three times.”
Mason also said his arm felt fresh going in.
“I was spotting everything well today,” Mason said. “I was keeping the pitches down and when they did hit it, they were hitting them off the ground or popping them up. I (was throwing) the curveball well and was keeping it down in the zone, which helped out when I hit my spots.”
Powers said Ryan Rodriguez (2-4) will start on the mound today for Nevada, which is hoping the weather stays nice with its conference opener against New Mexico State set for March 24-26.
“This is a long weekend,” Powers said. “We play each other four more times and we have to get the most out of each opportunity that we can. We have to try to get as much experience as we can out of every situation.”
Nevada-Northern Illinois begins at 2 p.m. at Peccole Park.