Jensen homer lifts Silver Sox
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Switch-hitting Marcus Jensen insists he’s more comfortable hitting from the left side.
You couldn’t tell by the swing he put on the ball in the bottom of the 12th inning.
Jensen, the ex-San Francisco Giant, slammed a two-out, walk-off homer to give the Reno Silver Sox a dramatic 5-4 win over the Fullerton Flyers before a crowd of 1,017 at Peccole Park Tuesday night.
Jensen’s homer, his second of the young Golden Baseball League season, snapped a 4-all tie that had existed since the top of the seventh inning.
“I was finally able to put a swing on a pitch (from the right side),” Jensen said. “It was a great time for a good swing.”
Jensen will deservedly get accolades for his game-winning hit, but the real stars of the game were relievers Nate Sevier and Scott Schneider, who combined for six innings of two-hit relief. Schneider picked up his first win of the season, throwing two hitless innings.
It was the second straight game that the bullpen has pitched well. Mike McKernan threw 4 1/3 innings in Monday’s 9-6 loss.
“Sevier and Schneider did an outstanding job,” Reno manager Les Lancaster said. ‘They did what we expected. If they keep putting up numbers like that, they won’t be here long.”
Schneider was especially aggressive, according to Jensen.
“Schneider throws 90 to 94 range,” Jensen said. “No sense when you have that kind of fastball not to go after hitters. He had great stuff.
“The bullpen did a great job of giving us a chance to score a run like we did.”
The extra-inning game leaves the Sox short-handed in the bullpen for tonight’s finale against the Flyers. Neither McKernan or Sevier, who allowed two hits in four innings, will be available. William Krout, Schneider and Josh Shackelford may be the only rested pitchers to throw.
“Schneider will be ready to go,” Lancaster said. “He didn’t throw that many pitches. Chris (Marini, tonight’s starter) can get deep into games. Hopefully we can go from him to Schneider.”
The starting pitchers did a creditable job, too.
Fullerton’s Jeff Groeger gave up only two earned runs and five hits in five innings. Reno’s Jared Bonnell allowed only a run and three hits in his five-inning stint.
Fullerton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rich Pohle hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Peanut Williams.
Nevada tied the game at 1 when Hector Zamora doubled to right and scored on Caleb Maher’s single to left. Bub Madrid, the former Reed High and Nevada star, singled Maher to third, extending his hitting streak to five. Madrid stole second, but Groeger retired speedy Victor Hall on an infield roller to end the inning.
Bonnell left after five innings, turning the ball over to Krout, and that wasn’t good for the Sox.
Williams, on the first pitch from Krout, snapped the tie with a homer that hit the light pole over the left-center field fence. The Flyers made it 3-1 when Rick Elder and Chad Chop followed the homer with singles. Sandy DeLeon hit a slow roller to short, scoring Elder.
Krout has had a tough start, allowing four runs and eight hits in only 3 2/3 innings over four appearances.
Fullerton’s lead didn’t last long – three batters to be exact.
Jensen doubled to right and Edgar Varela followed with a groundball to Williams at first. Williams flipped the ball to Groeger, who was ruled to have missed first base by field umpire Don Marchand.
Groeger left in favor of Nick Casanova, and Doug Gredvig fell in love with the first pitch he saw, slamming a three-run homer to give the Silver Sox a 4-3 lead. It was Gredvig’s second homer in as many games.
“The last couple of days he’s made adjustments,” Jensen said. “He’s seeing the result of them.”
“His (Gredvig’s) timing has been off, but I think he’s getting it back,” Lancaster said. “He’s putting up the power numbers we thought he would here.”
Fullerton came right back to tie the game when Bret Levier greeted Sevier with a triple to right as Zamora took a bad route to the ball and allowed it to get by him. After an out and intentional walk to Pohle, Williams hit a slow roller to third to score Levier.
Reno threatened in the eighth, getting a runner to third base, but reliever Matt Lincoln retired Madrid on a slow roller to third.
Hall dropped down a one-out bunt single in the ninth, and designated hitter Mike Done, who has yet to get a hit, grounded into a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning.
Fullerton put runners on first and second with two outs in the 10th, but Sevier wiggled out of the jam.
Neither team threatened in the 11th, setting the stage for Jensen’s heroics.
Notes: The game got off to an inauspicious start, as it took three tries to get the Star Spangled Banner played all the way through … High winds blew the American flag off the flag pole sometime on Tuesday … Wes Faust of Fullerton opposes Marini tonight at 6:30 … Reno visits Chico for a quick two-game road series before returning to host Chico on Saturday and Sunday.