Knights sweep Blue Jays in twin-bill
RENO — Zeroes were anything but the norm in the Reno Knights-Carson Blue Jays doubleheader Tuesday night at Zunini Field.
The teams combined for 50 runs and 60 hits in the 13 innings played. Reno had a little too much firepower, however, and walked away with a 13-10 and 17-11 sweep of the plucky Blue Jays.
The sweep dropped Carson to 5-10 on the summer. The Blue Jays visit Wooster High to play the Sun Devils today at 5 p.m.
“There was a lot of offense out there both games,” said Carson coach Bryan Manoukian, who watched his team rack up 26 hits in the two games. “When you play a team like Reno you know you are going to see good pitching. For us to stand up there and get all those hits, It gives the kids a lot of confidence. The effort, grit and competitiveness we showed was the best I’ve seen in a long time.
“The pitching? On the surface we gave up a lot of hits and a lot of runs, but that’s not an easy lineup to face. They had many guys who had just graduated, and they have three or four kids who are already playing college ball. They just had better swings than we did pitching tonight.”
For the most part, Carson answered Reno’s challenge nearly every time. The exception was in the opener, when Carson was ahead 10-7 entering the bottom of the fourth when Jeremy Peterson slugged a three-run homer to tie the game. The Knights finished it off with one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Carson didn’t score after the third, as Jacob Wait threw 4 1/3 innings of 2-hit relief to pick up the win.
“That was the only disappointing part,” Manoukian said. “The kids said the fastball moved a lot and his curve and change-up were slow. We just didn’t make the adjustments.”
Carson knocked around Austin Atkerson and Graham Macmillan for 10 runs in the first 2 2/3 innings thanks to two doubles apiece by Chase Blueberg and Jace Zampirro plus a double and single by Gehrig Tucker. Reno, however, was feasting on Zampirro with two in the first, two in the second, three in the third and three in the fourth to tie the game.
Brandon Allen came on in the fifth and walked lead-off hitter Joe Bath, who eventually scored on a single by Wait to make it 11-10. In the sixth, Kellen Richards singled and was forced at second by Peterson, who took second on the groundball when Tucker throw to first was wild. Peterson moved to third on Brock Tsukamoto’s infield out and scored ahead of Atkerson’s two-run bomb to right.
Armed with a three-run lead, Wait allowed just one baserunner in the seventh. He retired 13 of the 15 batters he faced, including nine straight.
Atkerson, a graduating senior, had three hits for Reno while Richards, a college freshman, also had three. Blueberg finished with three hits, while Tucker, Zampirro and Dustin Dutcher had two hits apiece.
Carson started fast in the second game, taking a quick 3-0 lead after its first two at-bats. Tucker doubled in the first and scored on Zampirro’s single. In the second, singles by John Holton, Danny Guthrie, Dom Norton and Tucker plus a sacrifice fly by T.J. Thomsen accounted for two runs.
Reno came back with five runs for a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the second as a two-run single by Joey Clark, a run-scoring single by Connor Thomspon and a double by Richards were the big blows.
Carson stormed back with five in the third for an 8-5 lead, as Tucker had a two-run single, Thomsen had a run-scoring single, as did Zampirro.
Reno answered with six runs in the third. The big blows were back-to-back homers by College of Southern Idaho’s R.J. Bush and Sullivan Cauley, and a two-run sacrifice fly by Peterson. Dutcher made a nice grab on Peterson’s ball, but apparently didn’t know how many outs there were, and Thompson scored all the way from second base to make it 11-8.
After Carson went scoreless in the top of the fourth, Bush and Cauley hit back-to-back homers again for a 13-8 lead. Carson cut the lead to 13-11 with three in the fifth, but Reno matched it in the bottom of the inning when Bush hit his third homer of the game, a two-run bomb, to make it 15-11.
Tucker and Zampirro each had four hits in the nightcap, while Thomsen added two.