Wolf Pack drops into losers bracket
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – It certainly wasn’t Rod Scurry’s best performance of the season, but he definitely deserved a better fate.
For the second straight weekend against San Jose State, Scurry was the victim of faulty fielding early in the game, and for the second straight week, Nevada couldn’t dig itself out of an early hole.
The Spartans took advantage of a double-error by third baseman Jason Rodriguez and turned it into four second-inning runs en route to a 5-1 win over the Wolf Pack Friday night in the WAC Baseball Tournament at Peccole Park.
The loss dropped the Pack into the loser’s bracket. Nevada faces Hawai’i at 3 p.m. in an elimination game. It will be the eighth time the teams have met this season. San Jose State, meanwhile, faces Fresno State with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game.
Four of the five runs Scurry allowed were unearned, and he allowed only three hits from the third to the seventh inning when he left after reaching the 120-pitch mark.
“He (Scurry) stabilized the game for us,” Nevada coach Gary Powers said. “Look at his numbers. We didn’t play defense on one play, and they took advantage of it.
“We have to do a better job on defense and a better job of situation-oriented. That’s been our Achilles heel this year in games that we’ve struggled. The difference in tonight’s ballgame is that they had three two-out, two-strike hits that scored. We had the same situation (twice) and didn’t take advantage.”
Scurry didn’t help himself in the second when he hit Greg Fyfe with a pitch, the first of four in the game. Kyle Bellows dropped down a bunt toward third. Rodriguez bobbled the ball and then threw wildly to first, allowing Fyfe to reach third. Bellows reached second on the play.
Brian Yocke followed with a roller to the right of the mound. Scurry seemed inclined to go to first, but at the urging of his teammates, fired a strike to catcher Konrad Schmidt who tagged Fyfe out. Sonny Garza singled home Bellows, tying the game at 1. Yocke was thrown out trying to steal third, and Garza moved up to second. Garza scored moments later on a single by Justin Santich-Hughes, and then Marcus McKimmy blasted a two-run homer over the left-field fence for a 4-1 lead.
“Mistakes are part of baseball,” SJSU coach Sam Piraro said. “You have to capitalize on them in the post-season. We had some good at-bats in those situations. You just hope you don’t make as many (mistakes) as your opponent.”
The Spartans added a run in the fourth to make it 5-1 when Garza hit a double that dropped among three Nevada fielders. Garza moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on McKimmy’s one-out single.
McKimmy has been on fire since moving into the lead-off spot a few weeks ago.
“We stress two-out hitting,” McKimmy said. “The hitter before me (Santich-Hughes) hit a single, and I was just trying to get on base.
Scurry made a mistake. I was lucky enough to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”
Scurry allowed just two singles over the next three innings, but the damage was done, however.
“I was still pitching like it was nothing-nothing,” Scurry said. “I was trying to throw strikes and be aggressive.”
Nevada did nothing against Steven Vidal after the first inning when he allowed a run and three hits, though they hit several balls on the nose. Nevada only got two hits over the last eight innings, as Vidal (6 hits in 6 1/3 innings) and relievers Loren Moneypenny and Corey Cabral pitched well.
“That’s baseball,” Schmidt said. “They made great pitches. They kept coming after us.”
The loss puts Nevada behind the proverbial eight-ball. Powers said No. 3 starter Kyle Howe will start against Hawai’i. If Nevada gets past Hawai’i, the Pack would send either Ben Colton or Dan Eastham to the mound tonight at 7.
“It’s not the easiest way to go,” Schmidt said. “It’s not the end. It’s definitely doable. I don’t think anybody is panicking at all.”
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281