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Nevada sloppy in loss to Lewis-Clark

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Staff Writer

RENO – What cheering there was at Peccole Park on Saturday wasn’t generated by the Nevada baseball team, but by its basketball counterparts two states away.

And, you can’t blame the announced crowd of 1,345 for it. While the basketball team was winning the biggest game in school history over Gonzaga, the baseball team continued its lackluster play with a 13-9 nonleague loss to Lewis-Clark State.

The Wolf Pack did a decent job at the plate with 11 hits, but the pitching staff, save for reliever Matt Renfree continually worked behind hitters all day. The defense was abysmal, too, making five errors which led to seven unearned runs.

“You’re not going to win a lot of games when you walk 10 batters, hit three guys and make five errors,” Nevada coach Gary Powers said after watching his team drop to 10-12. “There is no way you’re going to win when you let 18 runners on base that shouldn’t have been there.

“We have what we have (in terms of pitching), and that’s the bottom line. We don’t have a minor league system where we can call people up and down. They know what they have to do. It’s a matter of performing. Renfree did a good job after a tough start. He’s improved each time he’s gone out there. That’s a very positive thing.”

Renfree, who allowed an unearned run and three hits in four innings of work, relieved starter Patrick Mason with Lewis-Clark leading 3-2 with nobody out after a single by Derek Bruce and a walk to Josh Celigoy. Jose Rodriguez moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch scored Bruce and Tyson Dietz’s single scored Celigoy to maker it 5-2. Both runs were cedited to Mason, whose ERA balloned to 7.88. An error by second baseman Gabe Mayorga enabled the final run of the inning to score.

Renfree kept the Wolf Pack in the game, retiring 10 of the next 13 hitters he faced after Mayorga’s miscue.

Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack hitters closed the gap to 6-3 when Jacob Butler hit a leadoff homer in the fourth off reliever Robby Brethauer. It was Butler’s third round-tripper of the season.

Nevada took its only lead of the game in the fifth, 8-6, scoring five times off Brethauer and relievers Rob Williams and Mike Causey. The big blow was a two-out three-run homer by Erick Streelman, who came into the game hitting a woeful .196, but got hold of a Mike Causey fastball and drove it over the fence in center.

“They’re a good-hitting team and I knew it was still early,” said Streelman. “They regained momentum at the plate the next inning, and it was our job to answer, and we didn’t.

“We have to continue to play hard. We haven’t won a game on a Saturday yet (0 for 8), and that makes it tough to get any momentum going for Sunday.”

Whatever momentum Nevada built disappeared in the seventh when Lewis-Clark scored five runs after two outs.

Bryan Johnson retired the first two hitters on eight pitches, but Dietz followed with a double off Psaradelis’ glove in center. Ryan Stevenson followed with his first homer of the year tying the game at 8. It only got worse for Nevada, as the winners scored three more times, two on a bases-loaded single by Rodriguez and one an error by shortstop Robert Marcial to make it 11-8.

“A ball goes off the center fielder’s glove, we threw a ball away at first and it ends up 11-8,” said Powers. “We can’t make any excuses.”

Ryan Hiel pitched three strong innings of relief before leaving in the ninth after Nevada loaded the bases on a single, hit batsman and a walk. Reliever Nick Seely struck out Streelman, gave up a sacrifice fly to Marcial and got Brett Hayes on a fly ball to right to end the game.

Powers refused to absolve the position players from any pitching shortcomings, nixing the notion that there is more pressure on the offense to score more runs for the inexperienced pitching staff. The Wolf Pack lost their top four pitchers from last year, and boast an ERA of 6.20 which won’t win many games.

“Position players have nothing to complain about when we make five errors,” Powers said. “This is a team game. You have to play for nine innings. They have to play defense and score when opportunities present themselves. We did about one third of that today.”

And, that simply won’t get it done.

Notes: Only two WAC teams have winning records. Rice is 14-5 overall and Hawaii is 14-8 …In the last nine games, Nevada has used an average of six pitchers per game … Chris Giminez was hit for the 15th time, tops in the WAC. He has been hit 50 times in his career.