Silver Sox break into win column
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO - Following Friday's 9-6 loss to Long Beach, the nighttime sky was lit up by an impressive fireworks displ
The Sox got an impressive start from pitcher Ben Thurmond and catcher Marcus Jensen hit a two-run homer in the second inning for an 8-2 win over the Armada Saturday at Peccole Park.
“Thurmond did an outstanding job on the mound,” said Silver Sox manager Les Lancaster. “He mixed up his pitches. We struck early and got ’em behind.”
Thurmond (1-0) went six innings, striking out six and allowing only one earned run on four hits. He also walked three as the Silver Sox evened their season record at 1-1, while dropping the Armada to 1-1.
“Thurmond was our most impressive pitcher in spring training,” Lancaster said. “He was ready to go up to an 80-count pitching. We could’ve left him in there, but we pulled him out of there (after six).”
Lancaster didn’t have a pitch count available after the game, but it really didn’t matter as Thurmond was impressive throughout and was backed up by his defense, which committed only one innocuous error and benefited from the team’s offensive performance.
Jensen’s second-inning shot off the right center-field scoreboard brought in center fielder Victor Hall, who reached base with a single. The blast gave Reno a 5-1 lead and it never looked back.
Hall had another impressive night, finishing 2-for-3 and scoring three runs. He also drove in former University of Nevada infielder Bub Madrid with a single in the fourth for a 6-1 lead.
Madrid went 1-for-4 and reached base in the fourth with a double. Jensen went 2-for-4, with two RBI and two runs scored.
“We have Marcus in the three-hole. He’s a switch hitter. He’s able to drive the ball and pick up RBIs and set the table for the guys behind him,” Lancaster said.
The Silver Sox wasted no time in taking it to Long Beach starter Andre Simpson (0-1), touching him up with three runs and three hits in the bottom of the first inning.
“The main thing for us is to jump out early and not coast with the lead in the middle innings,” Lancaster said. “The way the ball travels here, you’re in it all the way till the end.”
Simpson also walked three batters in the first. Silver Sox first baseman Doug Gredvig drove in Hall and Jensen (who reached with a walk and a single, respectively) with a scorcher past short for the quick 2-0 lead.
Reno designated hitter Caleb Maher later followed with a double to score third baseman Edgar Varela for the 3-0 lead.
Long Beach got a run back in the second when 6-foot-8, 280-pound first baseman Samone Peters hit a line drive over the left center-field wall, but Jensen’s homer in the bottom of the inning gave the Silver Sox a four-run cushion, which was all Thurmond and the Sox bullpen would need.
“I know from playing in the big leagues in Colorado that you don’t give up home runs,” Lancaster said. “If you do, you give up solos.”
Jared Bonnell, Mike McKernan and Scott Schneider came on in relief for the Sox and gave up a combined run and two hits.
Simpson made it four innings for the Armada, but gave up seven runs (six earned) and seven hits. Nathan Pudewell, Brian Hoff and Alex Newman went a combined five innings for Long Beach, with Newman giving up the only run and hit, to go with three walks.
Hall scored in the fourth after he drove in Madrid to make it 7-1, when Peters made a fielding and throwing error at first on Jensen.
Long Beach got its only other run in the seventh on a Shelly Randall RBI-double and the Sox scored their final run on left fielder Phil Grau’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly – which brought in Varela – to round out the scoring.
Varela went 0-for-2, but walked twice and scored two runs.
“We’re still looking for another bat to add to the lineup,” Lancaster said. “I think the guys we have here have more power than they’re showing.”
Lancaster said that pitching is leading the way early in the season.
“We have a very strong staff,” he said. “We just need to get them in here, get ’em playing and get ’em over the jitters and settled down.”
The Silver Sox will look to win their three-game series with the Armada today. Mike Spiegel will take the mound against Long Beach, which will start Ryan Claypool. The game will begin at 1:05 p.m. and the gates will open at 12:05.
Claypool went 2-4 for Long Beach last year and had a 3.82 earned run average.
Notes: Right-handed pitcher Hideki Nagasaka was placed on the disabled list on Friday. Lancaster said Nagasaka, who was scheduled to start against Fullerton on Monday, was suffering from elbow tenderness. Lancaster said he wanted to give Nagasaka a few days off to get ready and come back, but said there was no timetable for his return. Jason Martinez will pitch in Nagasaka’s place on Monday…Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak made a brief appearance Saturday, throwing out the first pitch. The pitch was high, but over the plate…There was no official attendance announced, but there looked to be an estimated 1,500 fans in attendance…The Silver Sox have a new mascot, a shaggy-haired mutt named Nugget, who wears his baseball cap pulled to the side…The Silver Sox’s previous but short-lived mascot – a gecko – is said to be retired somewhere in Florida.