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Chico drops lethargic Silver Sox

DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – It was the opening game of the second half of the season and the Reno Silver Sox played like they were far out of the pennant race. No emotion. No energy. And surprise, surprise no victory.

Chico, the first-half winner in the Golden Baseball League, pounded 16 hits off three Reno pitchers en route to an easy12-6 victory Thursday night at Peccole Park.

“I don’t know what it was,” said Reno infielder Bub Madrid. “There was no energy. We have to come out ready to play.”

Reno’s troubles in this game started on the mound, however.

Starter Jason Martinez, 2-4, allowed five runs and five hits in five innings. Josh Evans was belted around for five runs and eight hits in three innings, and Adam Nikolic allowed two runs and three hits in his only inning.

“They (Chico) just hit today,” said Reno pitching coach Dusty Bergman. “Each time we adjusted, they had an answer. They were hitting the ball where we weren’t. They hit balls in the gap and down the line.

“We got behind in a lot of counts – 2-0 or 3-1. We threw 175 pitches between the three of them. That makes for a long day. Jason made some good pitches early to keep them from having some big innings early.”

Bergman also said that Martinez was pulling off his pitches, which may have accounted for his five walks. Bergman said he wants Martinez to be more compact in his delivery.

However, Reno only trailed 5-3 when Martinez left after the fifth inning. Jake Ferris made Martinez’s life miserable with a sacrifice fly, single and two-run homer in his first three at-bats.

Martinez has absolutely struggled in his last four games, allowing 22 hits and 14 earned runs in 17 innings. He’s walked 13 and fanned just seven in that span. It would seem his job could be in jeopardy, though he figures to stay in the rotation until Reno manager Les Lancaster can find somebody better.

Evans’ job was to solidify the game, and he wasn’t up to the task.

Eric Pringle, the Outlaws’ No. 9 hitter, singled and advanced to second on a single by Steve Boggs. Jesse Kovacs moved up both runners with a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Scott Dragicevich loaded the bases. Jason Van Meetren followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3, and Ferris singled home Boggs to make it 7-3.

Brock Ungricht led off the Chico seventh with a double and scored on Pringle’s single to make it 8-3. Pringle had a career day, going 4-for-4.

Jesse Oster came on in the seventh for John Jefferson, 3-0, and he struggled with his location.

Oster walked the first two hitters before retiring the dangerous Victor Hall on a fly ball to center. Ryan Kowalski followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 8-4. The threat ended quickly when Juan Senresio grounded into a double play.

Chico padded its lead with two more runs in the eighth off Evans and two more in the ninth off Nikolic to make it 12-4. Ferris singled home a run in the eighth for his fifth RBI of the game, and Van Meetren doubled home two runs in the ninth.

Reno got two unearned runs in the ninth when Dragicevich made errors on back-to-back plays. Hall made the Outlaws pay with a two-run single. Oster settled down quickly, striking out Kowalski and getting Senreiso to ground into his second straight inning-ending double play.

While the pitchers struggled mightily at times, the hitters had problems, too. Reno managed just seven hits, giving it 11 in two games. That won’t win many baseball games at any level.

NOTES: The four-game series and homestand concludes tonight at 7 with Reno’s Nick Moran (2-1) opposing Chico’s Jake McKinley (2-2) … The Silver Sox are currenty a player short, as Julio Soriano, who was unscored upon in two outings, decided to retire and return to the Dominican Republic. Lancaster said he never would have brought him here if he didn’t believe the hard-throwing right-hander wasn’t going to finish the season. Lancaster felt that Soriano had a good opportunity to get back into organized baseball … Ryan Brown injured his shoulder in a collision at first with Van Meetren, and left the game … Madrid may have re-injured his hamstring after rounding first base and falling on one of Dragicevich’s errors in the ninth… It’s Spitz Sunflower Seed Night tonight.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281