Rodriguez passes Rasner in Ks, ties him in wins
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Senior Ryan Rodriguez stepped to the top of Nevada’s baseball record book in two categories during Nevada’s 9-2 Western Athletic Conference win over San Jose State Friday night.
Rodriguez fanned eight batters to run his career total to 308, surpassing ex-Carson and Nevada star Darrell Rasner, who fanned 302 in his three-year career. Rodriguez won his fifth game of the season, and is tied with Rasner for career wins with 28.
Rodriguez, who scattered a season-high 12 hits over eight innings and lowered his ERA to 2.75, took the career strikeout lead when he fanned Karson Klauer for the second out in the fourth inning.
“It feels pretty good to do it in front of the hometown fans,” Rodriguez said. “I knew it was the third one (when he struck out Klauer). At the start of the game, I wasn’t thinking about it all. My parents and sister have been talking about it more.”
“He’s got that behind him,” Nevada coach Gary Power said. “He can go on from there. He did a nice job tonight with less than perfect stuff. He made a couple of big pitches to get out of that bases-loaded jam in the fourth.”
Rodriguez had blanked the Spartans through the first three innings, though the Spartans loaded the bases in the fourth with two outs and couldn’t push across a run. Rodriguez, 5-5 this season, wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth.
Trailing 3-0, the Spartans collected five hits in the sixth, though three of them never left the infield. Of the 12 hits Rodriguez allowed, four were of the infield variety.
Donato Giovanetto doubled, advanced to third on Kyle Bellows’ singled and scored on Klauer’s infield single to short. Giovanetto scored on Garza’s infield single, and Greg Fyfe’s single off Rodriguez’s shoe scored Bellows to make it 3-2. Rodriguez got Justin Santich-Hughes to bounce into a pitcher-catcher-first base double play.
“I turned around at one point and said ‘Can somebody hit the ball hard at somebody at least,’ ” Rodriguez said. “The defense kept the ball in the infield, and Konrad (Schmidt, Nevada catcher) picked me up by throwing that guy out at first. That was big.”
So was Rodriguez’s pitch location, according to Powers.
“It could have been frustrating for him,” Powers said. “The one thing he didn’t do was get a pitch up in the zone where they could find a gap.”
San Jose State coach Sam Piraro said the Spartans’ 12-hit effort was deceiving.
“We had some opportunities,” Piraro said. “Rodriguez was able to make the pitches when he had to. We had some good at-bats when there were no runners on or we were building an inning.”
The Spartans’ sixth inning may have motivated Nevada’s hitters.
After scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth off SJSU starter Greg Shannon, who was making his starting debut, the Wolf Pack scored five times in the seventh off reliever Tyler Greene.
Matt Suleski’s two-run single made it 7-2, and after Chris Siewert walked to put runners on first and second, David Ciarlo bombed a fastball deep to left field for a two-run double.
It’s amazing Ciarlo could swing a bat. He burned his left palm in a home cooking accident two days ago, and had the hand taped up.
“During batting practice it was hurting,” Ciarlo said. “I had a bit of adrenaline going during the game. I’ll play through it.
“It was fastball in. Today, Terry (Walsh) told me to sit back and stop moving my head. Coach was telling me to go to right field (right before the double).”
Rodriguez easily shut down the Spartans in the seventh and eighth before leaving after a 127-pitch effort in favor of Jarad Mitchell, who worked a scoreless ninth.
Nevada improved to 5-5 in conference, two games behind Louisiana Tech. Players and coaches agreed that winning the first game in a three-game series was critical.
“This is an important time in conference play,” Powers said. “We’re trying to stabilize ourselves. Every win means so much and is important to the team’s overall success.”
And, the Pack accomplished that with some solid pitching, errorless defense and clutch hitting.
“This was awesome for us,” said Ciarlo, who was hitting only .118 over the past five games. “The hitters came through in the clutch and Ryan pitched well.”
Notes: The 12 hits Rodriguez allowed was a season high …First baseman Shaun Kort had his team-leading 14th multi-hit game … Third baseman Jason Rodriguez made a nice diving stop and throw to first, and Suleski had a diving catch in right field which helped immensely … Tonight’s game starts at 6 with Nevada’s Rod Scurry (1-5) opposing SJSU’s Scott Sobczak (3-1).