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Western Nevada to face Southern Idaho

Now that the Western Nevada College baseball team has experienced a better than expected outcome, the question becomes how will this young club handle success?

Coming off a surprising series in which it won three of four at College of Southern Nevada, the Wildcats return to Scenic West Athletic Conference action this weekend when it travels to College of Southern Idaho.

The four-game series will consist of two doubleheaders today and Saturday. Today’s doubleheader will begin at noon and Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 11 a.m.

“I think it’s something we’ll definitely talk about,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore on talking to his team about not resting on its laurels this past week in practice.

“I feel like it’s raised our expectations and other people’s expecations. “It’s an added responsibility. You make the most of each day in practice.”

Apparently, some of the Wildcats have already had trouble handling that responsibility. Whittemore said there will be suspensions this weekend in which players will miss two games. He wouldn’t say which – or how many – of the players were suspended.

He did say the suspensions would likely affect his pitching rotation this weekend. It’s likely that Kyle Starratt, Josh Moody and Kyle Farrell will start the first three games of the series in a still to be determined order. All three pitched brilliantly last weekend against CSN.

The suspensions could also have an effect on how relief ace Jose Barajas will be used and even who will start the final game of the series.

But while Whittemore won’t expect the Wildcats to equal its performance against CSN, he still expects the same approach that led to the success against the Coyotes. “You’re not always going to play that well,” he said. “It’s about a consistent approach.”

Whittemore said he’ll stress to his team to continue to do the things that made it successul at CSN and “maybe even doing them better because there’s so much at stake.”

CSI got off to a rough start in conference play last weekend as it was swept in a four-game series at Salt Lake Community College.

So it could be a two-edge sword. CSI is either down – or hungry after last weekend. “I can only see one side of that sword for us,” said Whittemore, commenting he expects to run into a hungry CSI team. “They’re going to be angry.”

Whittemore noted that no teams – not even CSN or Dixie State when it was in the conference – has had much success at CSI.

“Nobody has done a lot of winning up there,” he said. “They’re tough to be there no question.”

A more indicative indication of where CSI stands could be the series in which it won two of three against Arizona’s Yavapai Community College. Salt Lake was swept by Yavapai.

“I don’t think they are down,” Whittemore said. “I think they had a bad weekend. I expect Southern Idaho is gonig to contend for the conference championship 0-4 or not.”

Whittemore said believes his team will see a typical CSI squad offensively and defensively.

“They really hammer the fastball,” Whittemore said. “All of their pitchers seem to have good sliders.

“They’re just so fundamentally sound and they never go away. It’s tough to match their intensity.”

One left-handed pitcher with a nasty slider is Jason Oatman, who was impressive against WNC last year as a freshman. Oatman was used as a reliever and a starter last year and pitched well last weekend. It figures that Oatman will be one of the starting pitchers this weekend.

Note: This weekend’s games can be heard at http://www.athletics.csi.edu. Click on baseball and then click on listen live.