Wildcats split with SLCC | NevadaAppeal.com

Wildcats split with SLCC

Wildcats split with SLCC

Appeal Staff Report

After letting a tight game with Scenic Western Athletic Conference leader Salt Lake Community College slip away with an error, the Western Nevada Wildcats erupted for a five-run fifth inning in game two to split their doubleheader with the Bruins Friday in Salt Lake City.

Wildcats freshman Kyle Starratt pitched a three-hit complete game to help WNC improve to 5-5 in the SWAC and 11-12 overall, while handing the Bruins their first league loss.

Starratt had a one-hitter going through the bottom of the ninth before giving up a run and two hits, but SLCC couldn’t rally and fell to 9-1 in league.

“That was a real gem,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said of Starratt’s performance. “That was as clean a game as anyone has pitched in our uniform. He had command of all three of his pitches.”

Starratt walked one batter and struck out nine in what was a pitcher’s duel early as SLCC’s starter was perfect through four innings before the Wildcats struck for five runs in the fifth.

Carson High School graduate Logan Parsley, who wasn’t expected to play this series because of a sprained ankle, drove in three runners with a double to put WNC on top.

Parsley had some help from freshman Travis Feiner, who was 3-for-4, with a double, a walk and an RBI. Freshman third baseman Davis Banks added an RBI on 1-for-4 hitting and Cliff Shepard and Kyle Gutchewsky each contributed a hit in the win.

McQueen High graduate Brian Barnett set a Wildcats record by recording a hit in his 21st consecutive game in the first contest, but had that streak snapped in game two of the twinbill.

“I think we showed a tremendous amount of character coming back after game one,” Whittemore said. “But when you lose one-run games, that can usually be attributed to poor coaching. I need to do a better job.

“But still, I thought our guys responded well in the second game. I give them a lot of credit the way they battled back 30 minutes after they had their hearts ripped out. It’s tough when you lose a one-run game.”

In game one, it was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh with a Bruins runner on first base with two outs. But that runner led to the Wildcats’ demise when he stole second and WNC’s throw from the plate rolled out to center field.

The runner headed to third and then home as the Wildcats’ efforts in the outfield during that sequence were “lackadaisical,” according to Whittemore.

Of WNC’s 12 losses, six have now come in one-run games.

Starter Kyle Farrell allowed two earned runs, four hits, four walks and struck out five in his five innings of action. Reliever Jose Barajas was tagged with the loss, allowing one run and a walk while striking out three in 1 2/3 innings of work.

The Wildcats’ scoring came on a pair of sacrifice flies by Shepard (0-for-1) and Lance Ray (1-for-2). Gutchewsky (1-for-3), Barrett (1-for-3) Jerome Pena (1-for-4) and Chuck Howard (1-for-3) supplied the rest of WNC’s offense.

“Tomorrow, we have to be consistent with our approach,” Whittemore said. “I feel good with [left-hander Josh] Moody on the mound. They have three left-handers [batters] and three switch-hitters who will have to face our lefty.”

The Wildcats will also be under the gun, so to speak, when they face Bruins pitcher Adam Gunn (3-0 with a 1.48 earned run average).

“We’re facing one of the better pitchers [Gunn] in the conference,” Whittemore said. “He’s in the top three in strikeouts. He’s got a real good breaking pitch. But I like where we’re at. We’re playing the first-place team and we control our own destiny.”

The first game of today’s doubleheader begins at 11 a.m.