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WNCC wins pitching matchup with Salt Lake

WNCC wins pitching matchup with Salt Lake

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

When pitching in Northern Nevada, one has to be ready for a variety of elements at any given time that range from snow to sunshine.

Josh Brink handled the elements just fine and combined with Ryan Iodence and Stephen Sauer on a three-hit shutout as the Western Nevada Community College baseball team beat Salt Lake 1-0 on Sunday at Ron McNutt Field.

WNCC gained a split in the four-game series with the win and moved two games ahead of Salt Lake in the Scenic West standings. The Wildcats (15-13) are tied for third with Dixie State at 9-7 while Salt Lake is 7-9. WNCC was able to split the four-game series despite scoring only a total of four runs in the four games.

“It’s pretty amazing and it’s a tribute to the assistant coaches and also our players and their work ethic and their belief in themselves,” said WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore about his first-year program’s record.

“It’s not every easy to split a four-game series when you only score four runs, but we managed. We’ve still got a long ways to go. We’re trying to get better every day.”

Brink struck out two and walked one while allowing two hits over 4.2 innings. He pitched through a small snow flurry before the sun came out.

“The snow to begin with, it was pretty cold,” Brink said. “I just took a long warmup. Once the sun came out it was pretty nice.”

On the entire pitching staff’s effort, Brink said, “That’s what won the weekend. We all pitched pretty well. I know when I came out of the game I was confident my bullpen was going to come through.

“I knew I was going to get the win. We all know our roles on the team and we’re real happy with those roles.”

A two-seam fastball with sinking action was among the pitches that Brink used to keep Salt Lake off balance. “Everything was working,” he said. “I felt like I could have gone another seven innings.”

Brink was quick to credit his catcher Taylor Meiras. “I’ve got to give credit to my catcher,” he said. “He calls a great game every game.”

For his part, Meiras said the game plan was simple. “The pitchers threw a lot of strikes,” he said.

Whittemore said Meiras does an outstanding job handling the pitchers. “I’d say that’s his strength,” Whittemore said. “Taylor has a very good understanding of the game. That’s great to have that kind of experience at the pitchers position.”

WNCC jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first after Kyle Bondurant walked, Tyson Jaquez and Pat Grennan singled and Brad Carlsen walked to force in a run. But with the bases loaded and one out, Chadd Dudley lined into a double play to end the inning.

Jaquez and Grennan had the only hits for WNCC. Iodence came on for Brink to pick up the last out in the fifth. Iodence struck out two over 1.1 innings and received help from Meiras in the sixth when the catcher nailed a runner trying to steal second.

Sauer pitched the seventh to pick up the save. He allowed an infield single and a wild pitch moved the runner to second. The runner advanced to third with two outs on a flyball, but Sauer induced a groundball to shortstop Jerahmie Libke to end the game.