Silver Sox’s lead goes up in smoke in loss | NevadaAppeal.com
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Silver Sox’s lead goes up in smoke in loss

Silver Sox lead goes up in smoke

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Another loss. Another brutal outing by the bullpen.

Ex-Carson High School star Dusty Bergman, the Silver Sox ace, left the game with a three-hitter and a 4-1 lead after seven innings. Safe lead right?

Not a chance. Not with the Silver Sox bullpen at the ready. Their specialty has been, to use baseball vernacular, throwing kerosene on an open fire.

The bullpen trio of Matt Parris, Shaun Balteff and Josh Evans gave up 10 runs, six hits and seven walks over the final two innings, as St. George rallied for an 11-4 win over Reno Monday night at Peccole Park.

All told, Reno relievers faced 19 batters over the final two innings, which allowed the Roadrunners to break an 11-game losing streak against the Silver Sox, who dropped to 9-17 in the second half of the Golden Baseball League season.

“The bullpen can’t do the job,” Reno manager Les Lancaster said. “They can’t come in and throw strikes. They get behind and get tattooed.”

“We’ve struggled all year long,” said Bergman, the team’s pitching coach. “It’s one of the things when you have a consistent bullpen. You don’t even notice it.”

This is one bullpen you notice immediately, because it’s the Achilles’ heel of the team.

Parris came on to start the eighth, and yielded a single to Ryan Stevenson. After Brett Flowers walked, Juan Melo hit into a fielder’s choice, with Stevenson taking third. Geoff Wagner struck out for the second out. Ex-Silver Sox player Cody Nowlin doubled home Stevenson to make it 4-2. Gary Harris followed with a two-run single, tying the game at 4.

Exit Parris, enter Balteff, who walked two batters before retiring the side.

The Silver Sox lost a great opportunity to go ahead in the bottom of the inning.

Victor Hall beat out a bunt single with two outs against winner Mark Woodyard. Ryan Kowalski sliced a ball down the left-field line which got into the corner. Stevenson hustled over, and got the ball back to the infield, forcing Hall to stop at third.

Juan Senreiso followed with a groundball to short. Greg Lemon short-hopped the ball to first, but Nowlin dug it out to retire the side.

That set the stage for an excruciating ninth inning if you were a Silver Sox follower.

Stevenson doubled, and Flowers and Melo walked to load the bases against Balteff, who gave way to lefty Josh Evans.

Wagner followed with a roller to second, and Mike Done’s throw sailed just up the third- base line and went off the glove of catcher Josh McLeod, allowing two runs to score for a 6-4 lead. After a walk and fielder’s choice, the bases were still jammed.

It was Done’s 18th error of the season.

“You look at all my errors, and they are throwing errors,” Done said. “In that situation, you’re trying to turn a double play. The throw went up the line a little bit.”

Marcos Villezcas walked to force in a run, and Lemon followed with a two-run single for a 9-4 lead. Stevenson, up for the second time in the inning, ripped a two-run double to make it 11-4.

Reno loaded the bases in the ninth against reliever Devin Collis, but couldn’t score. Collis actually struck out four batters in the inning, one reaching first base on a wild pitch that was swung at and missed.

Bergman was the bright spot for the Sox. He threw 104 pitches, and had it not been for a 30-pitch fifth inning, he might have been able to go another inning.

“I cruised through the first four innings,” Bergman said. “I struggled with my command in the fifth and sixth. I couldn’t throw my two-seam fastball, especially to left-handers. I threw a lot of cut fastballs. I threw it on 2-0 or 3-1.

“The last time we played Fullerton I was down 4-0 after six and we came back to get five runs.”

The only run that Bergman allowed was in the fifth when he walked two batters, gave up a single to Steven Wright and a sacrifice fly to Jason Alcott which made it 4-1.

Woodyard, after a rocky start in which he allowed three first-inning runs, settled down. He allowed only five hits and one run over his final seven innings of work to pick up his third win of the season.

“He (Woodyard) is one of the best starting pitchers in the league, no doubt about it,” Lancaster said. “He’s had some tough luck. He settled down and threw well after the first.”

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281