Pack Open 2007 Baseball Season At St. Mary's College
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NEVADA WOLF PACK
SAINT MARY’S COLLEGE GAELS
THE SERIES VS. SMC: The Gaels lead the series with the Wolf Pack 51-49-1. SMC has won four of the last seven games played. The two teams have split the last four games played in Moraga, Calif. The Gaels won the last meeting in Moraga, Calif. 10-6 on March 16, 2004. Both games that were scheduled to be played on Tuesday’s last season were cancelled.
History With the Wolf Pack
Probable SMC Pitching Rotation
Nevada Probable Lineup
Pack Notes: Nevada head coach Gary Powers enters his 25th season of directing the Wolf Pack baseball program in 2007...Powers, the longest tenured coach in the history of Nevada athletics, will coach his 1,300th game versus St. Mary’s College on Friday...The Wolf Pack are 9-15 in season openers under Powers...Powers 726 career wins ranks 32nd among NCAA Division I active coaches...Junior Matt Bowman was named to the Wallace Award Watch List, the award honors the college player of the year...Bowman enters the 2007 season with a seven game hit streak and is the only current player to carry a hit streak into the season...Senior pitcher Ryan Rodriguez and junior designated hitter Terry Walsh were named to the 2007 WAC Coaches’ Preseason team...Rodriguez was named to the preseason WAC team for the second year in a row...Rodriguez will make his 50th consecutive start on Friday at Saint Mary’s College...Rodriguez has started every game since coming to campus as a freshmen and recorded a strikeout in all 49 of his previous outings...Rodriguez ranks fourth with 23 career wins, fifth with 279.1 innings pitched, and fourth in strikeouts with 225 at Nevada...The Pack will open the season with 12 road games with the home opener slated for Tuesday, Feb. 20 versus St. Mary’s...Peccole Park will be the site of the 2007 WAC Tournament May 24-27...Nevada was picked to finish fourth in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind Fresno State, Hawai`i, and Louisiana Tech...FS and UH were tied for the top spot in the preseason poll...Saint Mary’s College is coached by former Nevada assistant Jedd Soto.
2007 Baseball Outlook
Although the names on the roster change from year to year, one constant remains in Univeristy of Nevada head coach Gary Powers who enters his 25th season of leading the Wolf Pack in 2007. Powers is the longest tenured coach in the history of Pack athletics. This season will mark the 11th for recruiting coordinater and pitching coach Stan Stolte. Former Pack shortstop Jay Uhlman, who handles the defense and works with the infielders enters his sixth season in 2007. The newcomer to the staff, but veteran coach, will be former Pack pitcher Stew Colton who will serve as a volunteer coach and work with the outfielders.
After suffering back to back losing seasons the team has undergone a major facelift since last year. The Pack return 15 players of which 11 where letterwinners from last season’s 26-28 squad that finished fourth in the Western Athletic Conference with an 11-12 mark and took third at the conference tournament. The returners will be joined by 22 newcomers, which are made up of 13 junior college transfers, four four-year transfers, and five high school players.
Coach Powers and his staff will have a difficult challenge fitting the pieces together in 2007 but this year’s squad will have considerably more depth throughout the lineup. Despite the depth the majority of the players are unproven heading into the season.
Seven of the 17 pitchers on the staff saw action last season primarily out of the bullpen. The Pack must find replacements for two of its three weekend starters and its top closer.
The ace of the rotation should be senior Ryan Rodriguez(7-7) who has made 49 consecutive starts since arriving on campus his freshman year. Rodriguez led the team with seven wins last season and has 23 in his career which ranks fourth in school history. For the second year in a row he has been selected to the WAC Coaches’ Preseason team.
Kody Keroher, Matt Renfree, Patrick Mason, and Jared Mitchell are four seniors who return in 2007. Keroher(0-1) and Renfree(2-3) are a pair of right-handers who each made one start last season while Mason(1-0) and Mitchell worked exclusively out of the bullpen.
Keroher and Renfree are battling for a spot in the rotation but most likely will come out of the bullpen. Mason and Mitchell are slated to be situation lefties out of the bullpen. Mason and Renfree made 15 appearances each while Keroher pitched in 14 games a year ago. Mitchell was effective in his 3.1 innings pitched in two appearances but received a medical redshirt after a shoulder injury sidelined him the remainder of the season. Renfree(2) and Mason(1) showed they can close out games as each earned saves last season.
Three junior right-handers return from last years squad in Steve Taylor(0-1), Dan Eastham, and Ben Colton.
Eastham is a two dimensional player who pitches and plays a position, which he will do again this season. A hard thrower, he pitched in four games out of the bullpen, mostly at the end of the season a year ago. He should see more time on the mound this season primarily in middle relief in addition to playing first base.
Colton received a medical redshirt last season after he appeared in just three games. After a solid fall he should work in middle relief or possibly close.
The nine remaining pitchers on the staff will all be taking the mound for the first time in the Silver & Blue this season. The group is comprised of four junior college transfers, a four-year transfer, and four true freshmen.
Heading the list of junior college transfers is right-hander Rod Scurry. Scurry, a transfer from Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. is slated to be in the rotation when the season gets underway.
Kyle Howe(Columbia Basin CC), Mario Rivera(Arizona Western CC), and Jacob Kaup(Alvin CC) are the three other junior college transfers. The trio will all get a chance to contribute in their first season at Nevada.
New Mexico transfer Jordan Salazar could earn the job as the Pack’s setup man. The righty has three years of eligibility remaining.
Mat Keplinger, Jake Ramsey, Shaun Kort, and Chad Croxon are the four freshmen pitchers on the squad. Keplinger and Kort will work as situational lefties out of the bullpen. Kort is also seeking time at first base and in the outfield.
Juniors Matt Bowman, David Ciarlo, Terry Walsh, Eastham, and senior Baker Krukow are the five returners who played infield for the Pack a year ago. Bowman and Ciarlo saw the most infield time of the five.
Bowman was named the 2007 Wallace Award Watch List, the award honors the college baseball player of the year. He played primarily third base but did also see action at second base and at designated hitter last season. To start 2007 he will play third base but could move to left field where he played his freshman year. The Pack will count on his offensive production again this year as he led the team, was second in the WAC, and 88th in NCAA I with a .376 average last season. His 17 doubles and 82 hits topped the team a year ago and he ranked in the top 10 in eight offensive categories in the WAC as a sophomore.
Ciarlo hit .222 making 49 starts as a sophomore, 27 at second base and 22 at shortstop. He will begin 2007 as the starting second baseman but could also see some time at shortstop. His seven home runs and 10 doubles were both tied for third on the team a year ago while his 38 runs scored was third and 27 RBI fourth. The Pack will count his bat to produce runs in his junior season.
Walsh started 29 games, Eastham 17, and Krukow six at first base last season as the three started 52-of-54 games at the position. Walsh and Eastham did also make starts at third base and in the outfield while Krukow caught 22 games.
Walsh started 15 games at designated hitter last spring and earned second-team All-WAC designated hitter honors and was selected to the WAC Coaches’ 2007 preseason team. He batted .293 with 27 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple, and seven home runs. The .293 average was third on the squad while his 10 doubles and seven home runs were tied for third with Ciarlo. His offensive production will have him in the lineup at either first base, designated hitter, or in the outfield.
Krukow made 38 starts at three different positions last year, catcher(22), designated hitter(13), and first base(6). As a junior he hit .270 with six doubles, a home run, and 26 RBI. The .270 average was fourth on the squad and 26 RBI fifth. The versatile senior will again see time at multiple positions this season.
Nine newcomers, six junior college transfers, a four-year transfer, and two freshmen will battle for time on the Pack infield this season.
Tennessee transfer Chris Siewert is the favorite to start at shorstop when the season begins. Siewert played two seasons at the Community College of Southern Nevada and last year for the Volunteers where he saw limited action. He could also see time in the outfield.
Western Nevada Community College transfer Tyson Jaquez can play either corner infield position but will begin the year at first base with Bowman playing third. Jaquez led WNCC with a .313 average and 55 hits in his only year at the school.
In addition to pitching Kaup and Kort will battle for time at first base along with freshman Cody Fierro. All three are left-handed hitters that could also see time at designated hitter.
Transfers Jason Rodriguez(Riverside CC), Owen Mackedon(Feather River College) and Steve Mays(Mesa CC) will serve as utility infielders to get the 2007 season started. Treasure Valley Community College product Jesse Ayala will work at third base or possible redshirt this season.
A pair of letterwinners who saw considerable time in the outfield last season return in senior Matt Suleski and junior Trevor O’Sullivan. The two combined to start 36 games a year ago in the outfield.
Suleski started a team-high 20 games in left field and three in right field in addition to seven at designated hitter. Last season he batted .235 with five doubles and 11 RBI. He should get a chance to earn the starting job in right field this season.
O’Sullivan started 11 games in left field and two in center field a year ago when he batted .236 with 13 runs scored and collected three doubles. He will be given an opportunity to earn a starting job most likely in left field but could also see time as pinch runner or left-handed pinch hitter.
Southern Nevada Community College transfer Nick Sansone is the favorite to earn the starting spot in center field in his first year at Nevada. The speedy Sansone hit .270 with 12 doubles, 25 RBI, and 25 stolen bases last season a SNCC.
Transfers Mike Hale(Treasure Valley Community College), Aaron Henry (Western Nevada), and Jason Sadoian(Arizona) bring experience and depth to the outfield. The three will all be given an opportunity to earn time this season.
Hale was two-time All-Northwest Athletic Association selection and hit .330 last season. Henry batted .268 for the Wildcats as a sophomore and helped the squad to the Scenic West Conference title. Sadoian transferred at semester from Arizona where he received a medical redshirt last season after tearing his labrum As a sopmore at Fresno City College he hit .430 which was fifth among California junior college players.
Krukow started 22 games last season behind the plate and 38 during his career. The versatile player will see time at first base and designated hitter in addition to catching.
A senior, Schmidt played last season at Arizona where he hit .282 with 20 runs scored, 10 doubles, two home runs, and 21 RBI in 47 games. He is expected to do the bulk of the catching for the Pack this season.
Brolsma was recruited to Nevada as a catcher but has seen action only as a pitcher since making the switch in positions as a freshman in 2004. After two seasons on the mound where he went 3-0, he has decided to return to catching in 2007. His time will be limited to a backup role this season.
Litke comes to Nevada after two seasons at Glendale Community College where he was second on the team last year with a .363 average. In addition to catching he could also get time at desiganted hitter or possibly play in the outfield.
Several players will put their bats to use in the designated hitter spot when not playing a position. Walsh, a 2006 second-team All-WAC designated hitter and 2007 WAC Coaches’ preseason team selection, is the favorite to hold down the spot heading into the season. Krukow, a switch hitter, could also see time at the position as he had done several times since coming to campus.
After the first month of the season the Wolf Pack will be road weary playing 12 games away from Reno to get 2007 started. The early season road games is nothing new to the Pack as weather is not always conducive to baseball in northern Nevada.
The season begins with four three-game road series in California versus St. Mary’s College, UC Riverside, Cal Poly, and Pacific. All four posted winning records last season.
Nevada then returns home to play seven of its next eight contests. St. Mary’s College comes to Peccole Park for a single Tuesday game to get the home schedule started. A three-game set versus first-time foe Buffalo is followed by a Tuesday game at 2006 NCAA tournament qualifier San Francisco.
The Pack return to Reno to host intrastate rival UNLV for three games to close out February. Nevada will look to continue its success versus the Rebels having won the last five matchups.
A four-game road swing begins with a Tuesday game at UC Davis followed by three at another NCAA tournament qualifying team in UC Irvine.
Five home games conclude play before WAC action gets underway as the Pack take on Utah Valley State in a rare four-game series that includes a Saturday doubleheader. St. Mary’s College will be in Reno for a second Tuesday game to end the early nonconference schedule.
Following the SMC game, the Pack will turn their attention to the WAC.
The WAC sent a pair of teams to the NCAA Tournament last season in Fresno State and Hawai`i. FS captured both the regular season and tournament titles last season to earn is spot while UH received an at-large bid. Both teams showed they were deserving after advancing to the finals of their respective regionals.
FS and UH are predicted to rise to the top of the league standings again in 2007 as reflected in the WAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The two schools are expected to battl for the conference crown again this season as each received three first place votes and totaled 33 poll points to tie for the top spot.
Louisiana Tech received the remaining first place vote and tallied 25 points in the poll to rank third. The Pack’s 21 points has them fourth followed by San Jose State(17), New Mexico State(10), and Sacramento State(8).
For the second year in a row each school will play a 24-game conference schedule, 12 at home and 12 on the road. Teams play a three-game series against each conference school and two additional three-game series versus two of the schools in a home and away format.
The top six teams based on regular season play will qualify for the season ending tournament to be played May 24-27 at Nevada's 3,000-seat Peccole Park. The double elimination tournament champion will receive the WAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Nevada plays three-game WAC road series at Hawai’i, New Mexico State, Sacramento State, and San Jose State. At home the Pack will take on Hawai’i, Fresno State, San Jose State, and Louisiana Tech in conference action.
Nevada opens WAC play with the two longest road trips in the conference traveling to Hawai`i to open league play followed by a trip the next weekend to New Mexico State.
The Pack return home to begin a nine-game homestand, its longest of the year with a Tuesday nonconference tilt with Pacific followed by a WAC series with Fresno State. A nonconference game with NCAA Tournament participant Stanford, is followed by three games versus San Jose State and a Tuesday game with San Francisco closes out the season-high nine-game homestand.
A trip to Sacremento State is followed by an eight-game home stretch versus UC Davis, Lousiana Tech, Santa Clara, and Hawai`i before ending the regular season at San Jose State.
With an odd number of teams in the WAC, the Pack will have an open conference weekend Apr. 20-22.