Scurry pitches Nevada to a win
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Rod Scurry and Travis Simas did a little homework together Thursday night at a local eatery, and it paid big dividends.
Scurry scattered five hits over seven innings to pick up his first win of the season in Nevada’s 10-5 non-conference triumph over UC Riverside Friday afternoon at Peccole Park.
The win, Nevada’s fourth straight, boosted the Pack’s record to 4-5. UC Riverside dropped to 3-9. The teams return to action today at 1 p.m.
“We (catcher Travis Simas) went to Chili’s,” said Scurry, who improved to 1-2. “We sat down and talked about last year’s game; sequences (of pitches).
“I was spotting my fastball. My split-finger worked well against left-handed hitters. I tried to put it (two losses) behind me. I don’t dwell. What’s happened is done, and you have to leave it behind.”
Clearly it was Scurry’s best performance of the season, but he didn’t get off to a good start. He surrendered a lead-off double to Carl Uhl that resulted in the Highlanders’ first run, and then he surrendered two more hits in the second inning before escaping unscathed.
“The first couple of innings I shouldn’t have thrown the fastball or split in certain situations,” Scurry said. “I was able to minimize it and just let up the one run.”
From the third through the seventh, Scurry allowed only one run, one hit and two walks, and was in complete command.
“By far his best outing so far this year,” Nevada coach Gary Powers said. “He consistently threw two or three pitches down in the zone for strikes. He got a lot of groundballs.”
And, Nevada’s offense enjoyed its fourth straight game of 10 or more hits. The top four spots in the line-up were especially effective, as Shaun Kort went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs, while Jason Sadoian, Matt Bowman, Terry Walsh and Jason Rodriguez all went 2-for-4. Walsh drove in three runs with his first homer of the season.
After the teams traded first-inning runs, Nevada tacked on two in the third to take a 3-1 lead.
Sadoian and Bowman started the rally with singles. Rodriguez moved the runners to second and third, respectively. Kort followed with a sacrifice fly to score Sadoian. Nick Leid walked to load the bases. Walsh followed with a groundball over the middle, and UC Riverside shortstop Bryan Horst threw wildly to first allowing Bowman to score from second.
The Highlanders pushed across a run to make it 3-2 in the top of the fifth when Ben Price walked, stole second, moved to third on a bunt and scored on an infield out.
Nevada took control of the game in the sixth, scoring six runs on four hits and knocking UCR starter Stephen Penney from the box.
Simas reached first on an infield hit and moved around to third when Sadoian walked and Bowman was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases. Rodriguez singled home a run to make it 4-2. Ryan Platt came on and gave up a two-run single to center by Kort, who is 10-for-15 in his last four games.
Kort credits a switch in his stance at the plate for his recent turnaround.
“Before the year, I changed my stance, and it wasn’t working out,” Kort said. “I talked to coach Powers about it, and he told me to go back to last year’s stance until I feel comfortable. I think I’m going to stay with it (the old stance).”
It’s hard to argue with that logic considering Kort hit .392 and drove in 50 runs as a freshman. Kort said he made the change after the Pack’s win over UT-Arlington.
Platt struck out Nick Leid, but then surrendered a three-run homer to Walsh, who entered the game hitting a woeful .130. The three-run bomb gave Nevada a 9-3 lead.
“I start off slow every year,” Walsh said. “This year has been a little tough. I’ve been working off the tee a little bit. You just have to flush it out and move on.
“I was doing too much pre-pitch movement before going into hitting. The swing itself was fine. It’s something that you don’t know you’re doing until somebody tells you.”
Powers was pleased to see Walsh swing the bat the way he did. He said that Walsh made some adjustments during the game.
“The first two at-bats he was a little long,” Powers said. “The last two at-bats he turned on a couple of balls.”
After Scurry left, there were some anxious moments with the bullpen.
Stephen Bautista lasted just four batters, walking two and giving up a single. He left having yielded a run and leaving runners at second and third.
Former Western Nevada and Southern Nevada reliever Ryan Iodence gave up a two-run single to Aaron Wible that made it 9-5. He struck out the next two hitters to end the inning and worked a scoreless ninth.