Ryan Church’s problems are the Nevada Wolf Pack’s gain.
At one point in his career, Ryan Church saw the field once, sometimes twice a week as a pitcher.
Then came some nagging arm problems that limited his effectiveness on the mound. Instead of wasting Church’s athletic ability, coaches decided to try an experiment: Church as an every-day player.
He came to bat only 38 times as a sophomore, but exploded onto the scene as a Second Team All-Big West utility player by hitting .363 in 113 at-bats his junior season.
Now in his final year at Nevada, Church’s name is expected to be in the starting lineup on a consistent basis, whether it be in left field or as the team’s designated hitter.
“He is such a good athlete that we need to take advantage of his overall ability and not just his pitching,” said Nevada coach Gary Powers. “He will help bring us some experience and additional leadership in an every-day role. He has the potential to add another quality left-handed hitter to our lineup.”
Church will likely see some action on the mound as a reliever -- he tossed seven total shutout innings against Stanford last season -- but during one stretch he proved his value as an everyday athlete might out-weigh the need to use him as a pitcher.
From March 28-May 8, 1999, Church raised his average from .278 to .419. He had at least one hit in 17 straight games, capped by a 4-for-5 performance against UC Santa Barbara.
“He is a very dangerous hitter and can run better than you think,” Powers said. “He gives us another great athlete in our lineup.”
QUOTE FROM COACH POWERS
‘He is a very dangerous hitter and can run better than you think. He gives us another great athlete in our lineup.’
HIGH SCHOOL: Earned a total of 10 letters competing in baseball, basketball, and football at Lompoc HS in Lompoc, Calif. He was named all-league, all-area and all-county three consecutive years. His team won the C.I.F Division 2 championship in 1993. He was a regular member of the honor roll and principal’s academic list.
PERSONAL: A physical education major. Born 10/14/78. He is the son of Gary and Karen Church. He enjoys working with children with disabilities, senior at retirement homes, and playing cards and video games.
Pitching Stats Year ERA AP/GS W L IP R ER H CG SO BB SV 1997 4.74 17/14 6 5 79.2 59 42 92 2 48 35 1 1998 8.53 4/4 0 0 6.1 6 6 13 0 3 4 0 1999 10.44 10/7 1 2 25.0 30 29 42 0 11 11 1 Ttl 6.24 31/25 7 7 111.0 95 77 147 2 62 49 2