Ex-Giant Jensen a hit in Silver Sox win over Armeda
RENO – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at Peccole Park and realize that for the Reno Silver Sox to succeed this season in the Golden Baseball League, they’re going to need strong pitching.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a catcher with Major League experience to handle those pitchers, who provides some clutch hitting as well. That formula led to a 5-3 win for the Silver Sox against the Long Beach Armada on Sunday at Peccole Park, enabling Reno to take two-of-three from the Armada in the opening series of the season.
Four relief pitchers held Long Beach to one run over the last four innings and Reno rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning, with the key hit coming from catcher Marcus Jensen. The former San Francisco Giant hit a go-ahead three-run double during the rally. Jensen finished with four RBI.
Reno also continued to receive solid efforts from leadoff hitter Victor Hall, who went 1-for-2 with two walks and reached base all five times and former University of Nevada player Bub Madrid, who had two hits, giving him a hit in all three games in the series. For the series, Hall went 6-for-10 with four stolen bases and seven runs scored.
“He’s just your typical leadoff hitter,” Reno manager Les Lancaster said. “That’s what we expect out of the guy.”
Lancaster also took one look at Peccole Park and realized he needed to load up on pitching. “I knew that was a strength coming into the season,” he said.
Mike Spiegel started for Reno and gave the Silver Sox five solid innings, allowing two runs that gave Long Beach a 2-1 lead. Both runs came in the third, with Ryan Webb’s solo home run giving the Armada a 2-1 lead.
Reno took a 1-0 lead in the first when Hall walked, stole second and scored on Jensen’s single. But after that, the Silver Sox were silenced by Ryan Claypool, who didn’t allow any more runs over six innings.
The turning point of the game came in the seventh. Long Beach loaded the bases with one out to chase Josh Shackelford. Winning pitcher William Krout came into the game and was greeted by an RBI single by Randall Shelley that gave Long Beach a 3-1 lead.
But then Krout received some defensive help from right fielder Hector Zamora, who made a diving catch of a line drive to rob Jeff LaRue. Krout then got a strikeout to the end the inning.
With Claypool out of the game, Reno got to Brian Hoff in the bottom of the seventh. Madrid started the rally with a single and Hall reached when his line drive was dropped by right fielder Chris Wakeland for an error. Evan Sobel reached on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs.
Jensen then stepped up and fell behind 0-2, but he worked the count to 3-2. Hoff had to come in with a fastball and Jensen lined it to left center field for a three-run double to give Reno a 4-3 lead. “Marcus did an outstanding job,” Lancaster said.
Lancaster also praised the way Jensen, who makes all the pitch calls, has handled the pitchers.
“That’s why he’s behind there,” Lancaster said. “He’s a team leader.”
Jensen said he’s been pleased with his approach so far as he’s also looked to hit the ball the opposite way.
“I know when I’m able to hit the ball the other way I’m in good shape,” he said. “I’m here to work on things, have fun, play the game for the love of the game. It’s always good to win. When you add individual stuff it makes it all the better.”
Jensen is hitting third for Reno and he said he can handle that spot since he’s done it before at various levels. But there’s one level where he hasn’t hit third. “I can’t say I’ve hit third in the Big Leagues, though,” he said.
After Jensen’s hit, Zamora followed with an RBI single that made it 5-3. That was enough for Nate Sevier, who retired all three batters he faced in the eighth and closer Scott Schneider, who retired all batters he faced in the ninth, striking out two to pick up the save.
Reno will continue its homestand at 6:35 p.m. tonight against the Fullerton Flyers.