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Four nines coming to WAC

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

The Western Athletic Conference will have a new format for baseball starting this spring.

Because the baseball season is starting a month later, it’s forcing schools across the country to make some changes so it can still play its 50-plus games per year.

Instead of the traditional three-game series, the WAC teams will play four nine-inning games every weekend, including a Saturday double-header.

There was some discussion about playing a nine-inning game on Friday, two seven-inning games on Saturday and one nine-inning game on Sunday. Another proposal was to have a seven and nine-inning games on Saturday.

The vote was 6-1, according to Nevada coach Gary Powers, who voted for the longer games. He did not reveal who voted for the shorter games on Saturday.

“I’m for it,” Powers said. “I think the lesser team has a better chance of winning seven-inning games. I’d like to think one of our strengths is our depth of pitching. You win or lose a lot of games in the seventh, eight and ninth innings.

“In terms of RPI, you need to play as many nine-inning games as possible. There are teams in the conference that would hold their best pitcher for the seven-inning game. If they won that, all they would have to do is win one to get a split. Teams could manipulate the rotation that way and skew things a little bit.”

Powers said that the coaches agreed to use a 10-run rule after seven innings this season.

“I’m for that,” Powers said. “If a team goes out to a big lead, like 18-2, you aren’t having to use another pitcher just to finish the game. It’s good for the league.

“This is a trial year. If we don’t like it, we can tweak it how we want the next year.”

Powers said the new conference format will change the way his staff recruits. He said that teams will have to look for more two-way players – guys who are position players and can also pitch. Currently Shaun Kort and Dan Eastham fill that role for the Pack.

“It’s key, especially when you have roster limits,” Powers said.

Another change coming in 2009 is that the conference will go to 24 games instead of 30, meaning teams will face each other one time. That will put the pressure on Powers to come up with 30 non-conference games each year, and given Nevada’s geographic location, that won’t be easy.

SHRADER HIRED AT SDSU

Former Nevada women’s swim coach Mike Shrader, who won 87 percent of his meets, has been hired as the women’s swim coach at San Diego State University.

While at Nevada, Shrader established an impressive 89-12-1 record in dual meet competition. He guided the 2006-07 squad to a perfect 18-0 mark and the program’s first Western Athletic Conference championship en route to being named the WAC swimming coach of the year for the second time in his career. He previously earned the honor in 2002, when he led the Wolf Pack to a 10-2 record and a second-place finish at the WAC championships.

Nevada has hired Mike Richmond as its new interim coach.

Richmond has been the Wolf Pack assistant coach the last seven seasons under Shrader and helped guide the Pack to the 2007 Western Athletic Championship this past season.

Prior to coming to Nevada, he was the longtime head coach of the Lubbock Swim Club in Lubbock, Texas, and it was regarded as one of the top programs in the state for the 11 years he coached.

BSU HOOPS TO CANADA

The Boise State men’s basketball team will play four games in three days over Labor Day weekend in Canada.

According to reports, BSU will start practice on Sunday afternoon. The Broncos will practice 10 times before leaving for British Columbia on Friday, August 31.

Boise State will play four games in three days on the trip opening with a game against Trinity Western at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1.The Broncos play a pair of games on Sunday, Sept. 2, facing Fraser Valley and Douglas College. Boise State wraps up the trip with a game at the University of British Columbia on Monday, Sept. 3.

AMBITIOUS SCHEDULE FOR NMSU

New Mexico State men’s basketball head coach Marvin Menzies announced late last month that the Aggies have finalized their 2007-08 schedule.

The schedule, a marked upgrade in non-conference competition, is highlighted with road games at Duke, Louisville and NMSU’s participation in the 2007 Legends Classic Tournament.

The schedule includes 17 regular season home games. Eight of the Aggies’ opponents played in the post-season last year.

“I think that Reggie (Theus) was very proactive in his thought process,” Menzies said in a NMSU press release. “I think he was aggressive but intelligent. There are some strategic games on the national level, Duke, Louisville and the two games in the Legends tournament that will be marquee games for us in the non-conference as it will obviously do a good job of raising our RPI (ratings percentage index) as well.”

NEVADA SOFTBALL TRYOUTS

The University of Nevada softball team will be holding tryouts for the 2007-08 season on September 11 beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Christina M. Hixson Softball Park.

NELSON BOOTED AT NMSU

Tyronne Nelson, NMSU’s 6-8 forward has been dismissed from the New Mexico State basketball team after pleading no contest to allegedly beating up and robbing a pizza delivery person last year.

Nelson was able to avoid trial until after last year’s basketball season ended.

Tyler Dunkel, NMSU spokesman, said that if a student-athlete pleads no contest, he/she is dismissed from an athletic team.