PACK BASEBALL: Shipley learns his lesson in win
For the Nevada Appeal
Bradey Shipley learned a valuable lesson on Friday afternoon.
“Yeah, I went against the scouting report twice and it hurt me,” said Shipley who earned his third victory of the year as the Nevada Wolf Pack trounced the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 12-2 in front of 565 fans at Peccole Park. “After that I trusted the scouting report.”
Shipley, now 3-1 on the year, allowed three hits and two runs in the first inning as the Gauchos took a quick 2-0 lead.
“He shook me off a couple times,” Pack catcher Carlos Escobar said. “He just left a couple balls up in the zone. He just lost sight of the little things a little bit in that first inning but after that he did a great job.”
Pack coach Gary Powers went to the mound to correct the problem in the first inning.
“I went out there and asked him, ‘Don’t you think you should trust the scouting report?,'” Powers said. ‘”Don’t you think we know a little bit more about how to get these guys out?'”
Shipley took Powers’ advice and was almost unhittable after the first inning, allowing just three base runners on a hit, a walk and a hit by pitch over the next five innings.
“We’re allowed to shake off (the catcher’s signs),” Shipley said. “But I made a couple mistakes. I left a couple pitches up in the zone. After that, though, I stayed with the scouting report those last five innings.”
Shipley allowed just four hits and two runs while striking out five and walking just one over six innings. He threw 64 of his 106 pitches for a strike.
“That was big for me to come back and battle and shut them down for five innings after that first inning,” said Shipley, who now has a 2.45 earned run average this year over four starts and 22 innings.
Powers agreed with his sophomore right-hander.
“He kept us in the game through six innings,” Powers said. “That was big. When he started to stick with the scouting report on how to pitch these guys he did a real nice job of executing his pitches. And it was nice to see the team get some runs for him.”
Did they ever.
The Pack, which will host Santa Barbara again on Saturday and Sunday (both at 1 p.m.), scored 11 runs on nine hits in the sixth inning to break the game open.
“I knew our bats would come around eventually,” Shipley said.
The first seven Wolf Pack hitters reached base on either a walk or a hit. Escobar’s three-run double and Austin Byler’s three-run homer were the big hits of the inning. Three Pack hitters — Kyle Hunt, Brett Jones and Byler — each had two hits in the inning.
“It was just high and inside,” said Byler of his third home run of the season. “I just told myself to sit on a first-pitch fastball.”
Byler, who also drove in a run with a single in the inning, sort of called his shot on the homer to right field.
“Yeah, kind of,” smiled Byler. “Anywhere in, I was swinging.”
Byler’s home run came on the first from Gauchos’ reliever Jared Wilson. In his first at-bat of the inning he singled on the 10th pitch of his at-bat against starter Austin Pettibone.
“We got some very clutch at-bats in that inning,” said Powers, who listed Byler’s single among them. “We battled hard and competed. I was very pleased to see that.”
Escobar’s hit was the one that ignited the inning. His double to center field cleared the bases and gave the Pack a 7-2 lead.
“It was huge for our team,” Escobar said.
Leadoff hitter Jay Anderson battled as hard as anyone in the inning, drilling a run-scoring single over the second baseman’s head on the 14th pitch of his at-bat to give the Pack an 8-2 lead.
“We grinded out a lot of good at-bats today,” Powers said. “That’s what this team has to do to be successful. We have to be competitive on every at-bat and not give in at the plate. We got a lot of good at-bats in critical situations.”
Tim Culligan, Kody Gorden and Colby Blueberg each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Shipley to nail down the victory as the Pack improved to 8-5. Santa Barbara, of the Big West Conference, fell to 6-7.
“This was good to see,” Powers said. “This team needed a game like this. We’ve been in so many one-run games (they are 3-3 in one-run games), it was nice to be able to break a game open.”
The 11 runs are a season high and the 14 hits tied a season high for the Pack this year. The first five Pack hitters in the starting lineup — Anderson, Hunt, Jones, Byler and Brooks Klein — each had two or more hits.
“When you hit like that, it’s contagious for everyone in the lineup,” Powers said. “But tomorrow’s another day.”