Scurry settles down for Pack
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Rodney Scurry’s fastball was all over the place Sunday night, and against a free-swinging team like Hawai’i, that’s not a good thing.
Hawai’i feasted on Scurry’s fastball in the first inning, hitting safely five straight times en route to an early 3-0 lead.
Scurry settled down, and his teammates scored five unanswered runs to grab a 5-3 win over the Rainbows in a Western Athletic Conference baseball game at Peccole Park.
Nevada, which has won 10 of its last 14, improved to 30-22 overall and 13-7 in conference play. It’s the first time since 2004 that Nevada has reached the 30-win mark. Hawai’i dropped to 31-21 overall and 9-11 in the WAC.
Scurry, who allowed only three hits after the first inning, won for the third time in eight decisions. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. In fact, neither Scurry or Jarad Mitchell walked a batter.
“He (Scurry) didn’t have his stuff to start the game, but he got it back,” catcher Konrad Schmidt said. “That happens. He located his curveball.”
Scurry said he was mainly throwing fastballs in the first inning, but his location was off, and Hawai’i took advantage.
After one out, Derek DuPree singled and scored on Justin Frash’s double to right-center. Brandon Haislet singled home Frash. Kris Sanchez singled Haislet to third and designated hitter Vinnie Catricala singled home Haislet.
Scurry settled down, allowing only two hits through the next five innings, and his teammates rewarded him with two in the fourth and three in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead.
The big key for Scurry is that he started to go more with off-speed pitches early in the count to get ahead.
“My fastball was all over the place early,” Scurry said. “They are a pretty free swinging team. I noticed that Saturday (when I charted). I was throwing low and away, and later in the game I started going inside.”
After the first inning, Scurry retired 12 of the next 14 hitters, including 11 in a row from the second inning to the end of the fifth.
Hawai’i starter Matt Daly no-hit Nevada through the first three innings, but the Pack caught up to him in the fourth.
With one out, Schmidt hammered a double to right and moved to third on an infield out. That’s where the fun began.
Terry Walsh slammed a ball off the fence in right to score Schmidt. Walsh’s drive caromed toward right-center field. The relay throw appeared to get away from the cutoff man, and Walsh stormed home safely, barely beating the throw from catcher Landon Hernandez to Daly, who was covering the plate.
Hawai’i coach Mike Trapasso argued with plate umpire Dan Payne for a few minutes and returned to the dugout. His tirade toward Payne didn’t stop there because he was ejected moments later.
“I hit it off the fence, and knew I had a triple,” said Walsh, who raised his average six points to .384. “I took a hard turn around third, and I saw the ball rolling in the infield. There were two outs and hopefully I could beat him (the pitcher) to the plate. He didn’t try to tag me. He just put his glove down and I got my arm around it to the plate. It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
And, Powers loved the hustle.
“It was a tremendous slide,” Powers said. “He reached around and over the tag. He did a nice job sliding around the tag.”
In the sixth, Jason Rodriguez walked and scored on Shaun Kort’s double. Kort moved to third on Schmidt’s infield roller to short and scored on Baker Krukow’s sacrifice fly to the warning track in center. Walsh followed with a towering homer over the batting eye in center field to make it 5-3.
“The first pitch was a slider, and if he throws a second slider my hat’s off to him,” Walsh said. “I was sitting on the fastball.”
“That (homer) was big,” Powers said. “Early on, he (Walsh) was swinging at bad pitches. The one ball up he did a nice job. The double or triple, whatever it was, was huge because it got us back in the game. He delivered two big hits.”
Scurry left the game after hitting No. 9 hitter Eli Christensen with a pitch with one out in the seventh. Powers went to Mitchell, his senior left-hander. Mitchell struck out pinch-hitter Jorge Franco on a nice breaking ball and then retired Justin Frash on a groundball to second.
Mitchell went the rest of the way, allowing a hit in each of the eighth and ninth innings for his first save of the season.
“Those two kids were outstanding,” Powers said. “I can’t say enough about Rodney with the way he regained his composure. He did a good job getting the game back under control.
“Jarad did an outstanding job. His fastball had a little movement on it.”