It’s no myth, Reno comes back for win
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Mythology and baseball seem to go well together – at least they did in Friday’s Reno Silver Sox-Chico Outlaws matchup at Peccole Park in front of an announced crowd of 1,414.
As with Sisyphus, who had a monumental challenge in pushing a giant boulder up a hill, the Silver Sox were having one heck of a time trying to get over the hump with the Golden Baseball League first-half champion Outlaws, who kept trumping every Reno rally.
But the Silver Sox, now 1-1 in the second half (19-20 overall) exploded for eight runs in the last two innings and got some help from the bullpen in going on to a 14-11 victory over Chico, now 1-1 in the second half and 25-14 overall.
The Sox outhit the Outlaws, 18-15, and rode the arms of reliever Shawn Balteff (2-0) and 6-foot-8 closer Eric Thomas, who was making his second appearance for Reno since coming from the Angels’ High Single-A Rancho Cucamonga club.
Balteff went three innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs, while striking out four. The towering Thomas, who generated a buzz from the boisterous crowd, went one inning, allowing one run, two hits and one walk. Thomas hit 96 on the radar gun in striking out Ricky Bambino in the top of the ninth inning.
“I feel good. I haven’t been in action for a while – a couple months,” said Thomas, who pitched with former Manogue Miner Kevin Jepsen at Rancho Cucamonga. “I think the team did a good job. We stayed in the game. Even when we were down, we were enthusiastic, relaxed. We let things happen.
“The ball was traveling today. It didn’t take much for us to turn the game around. It was a big win.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first inning, but Silver Sox starter Nick Moran was on the receiving end of a five-run Chico second inning.
Former Nevada standout Bub Madrid hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the second and Mike Done’s RBI single drew the Sox within two runs.
Catcher Jose Rodriguez’s RBI single brought Reno within one at 6-5 in the third and leadoff hitter Maurice Cole’s solo shot tied the game in the fourth.
But Chico added a pair of runs in the fifth and took an 8-6 lead.
Moran lasted five innings, giving up eight runs and 11 hits and two walks.
The Silver Sox looked like they once again got the boulder to the top of the mountain in the seventh, chasing Chico starter Jake McKinley.
Juan Senreiso (3-for-5, 2 RBI and 2 runs) singled in Ryan Kowalski and left fielder Kane Simmons tied it with an RBI double.
Simmons finished 1-for-4, with 1 RBI and 2 runs, but has hit a team-high nine homers and knocked in 27 runs in his 20 games for Reno. He entered Friday’s game hitting a team-high .351.
Reno took a 10-8 lead later in the seventh, when Senreiso scored on a wild pitch and Jose Rodriguez hit an opposite-field double off reliever Phil Springman (2-2) to score Simmons.
Chico rallied to tie the game after a two-run eighth inning made it 10-10, but the Silver Sox remained as determined as their mythical counterpart and responded for four of its own runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 14-10 game and pave the way for Thompson to enter the game.
As fireworks erupted in the nighttime sky at the Silver Legacy, Reno lit up Springman. Kowalski scored on an error, Senreiso doubled in Victor Hall, Madrid singled in Senreiso and Mike Done’s single brought in Simmons to round out Reno’s scoring.
“Our offense has been up and down the last couple games,” Madrid said. “But at this point in the season, we can score runs with anyone – especially when we play at home. We can put up 10 runs in an inning.
“Shawn Balteff has been huge for us. He throws strikes and has a good chanegup. Thomas is big – an imposing closer. Once he hits the strike zone consistently, he’ll be the swing-and-miss guy we need coming out of the bullpen.”
McKinley went six innings for the Outlaws, giving up 10 hits and eight runs (seven earned). Spingman went two innings, allowing six runs and eight hits.
With the win, Reno salvaged a four-game split with the Outlaws. Reno will begin a three-game series at Chico beginning today.