Nevada baseball starts practice
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Gary Powers starts his 24th season as Nevada’s baseball coach, and this may be one of his biggest rebuilding jobs.
Powers, who won his 700th career game last season, is expected to greet a 33-man roster when practice gets under way today at refurbished Peccole Park in preparation for the Feb. 3 opener at Cal-State Northridge. Field turf was installed in the offseason, and the last of the work is being finished. Lights also will be installed, and the Pack’s first night game is March 10 against Portland. The home opener is Feb. 16 against arch-rival UNLV.
More than half of Nevada’s team, which was 26-27 last year, didn’t play an inning last year.
Only three starting offensive players return – designated hitter Baker Krukow (.286, 2 HR, 28 RBI), right fielder Shawn Scobee (.258, 18 HR, 39 RBI) and left fielder Matt Bowman (.280, 4 HR, 19 RBI). Bowman played mostly left last season, but could play second or third base, too.
Scobee can hit the ball a long ways, but no doubt Powers will be on him to become a more consistent contact hitter. Scobee struck out 60 times in 183 at-bats, which is an ugly ratio.
Terry Walsh (.224, 1 HR, 8 RBI), who is a candidate to replace Ben Mummy at first base, reserve second baseman David Ciarlo (.200, 2 HR, 10 RBI) and outfielder Drew Johnson (.050, 0 HR, O RBI) are the only other active position players returning. Ciarlo will challenge for playing time at second base, and Walsh is expected to battle redshirt Daniel Eastham for playing time at first. Ex-Wooster standout Trevor O’Sullivan, who redshirted last season, will challenge for time in the outfield.
On the plus side is that Powers returns nine pitchers from last year’s squad, including weekend starters Ryan Rodriguez (11-5, 5.67), Travis Sutton (3-7, 6.50) and Tim Schoeninger (5-8, 5.07).
Steve Taylor (1-0, 5.61), who is coming off a nice summer in Hawai’i, senior Chris Scott (4-1, 7.12), Matt Renfree (0-1, 6.38), Patrick Mason (0-1, 4.30) and closer Wesley Dorsett (2-2, 5 saves) also are back. Ex-Carson star Owen Brolsma, whose freshman season was cut short by an elbow injury, had Tommy John surgery last year and is ready to go.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281