2007 Season Review
NEVADA ENDS RECORD SETTING SEASON 35-26
Wolf Pack Post First Winning Season Since 2004
After back to back losing seasons the University of Nevada put together one the best years in school history going 35-26 overall and 15-9 in Western Athletic Conference play. The 35 wins are tied for the fifth best season in school history with the 1995 club. Picked to finish fourth in the 2007 WAC Preseason Coaches’ poll the team ended the year second, two games back of Fresno State, and reached the championship game of WAC Tournament falling to FS. The Wolf Pack coaching staff molded together a team that included 11 returning letter winners, 22 newcomers, and six returning starters into a group that won 35 games by seasons end.
The Season Gets Underway
A grueling 12-game road schedule to start the season left the team 4-8 heading home. In addition the team lost the services of their top returning player for the season as outfielder/infielder Matt Bowman tore his pectoral muscle running the bases in the fifth game of the year at UC Riverside.
After opening the home schedule with a loss the Pack rattled off five consecutive home victories which included a three-game series sweep of intrastate rival UNLV. With the three-game sweep of the Rebels the Pack increased their win streak to eight in a row over UNLV the past three seasons. After winning at UC Davis the Pack had won six in a row but dropped their next three at UC Irvine. Returning to Peccole Park the Pack swept a four-game home stand to improve to 14-12 heading into conference play.
Pack Finish Second In The Western Athletic Conference Regular
Nevada would open the WAC schedule with six road games making its two longest trips of the season at Hawai`i and New Mexico State. The Pack dropped two of three very close games at UH and won two of three at NMSU to go 3-3 on the road. Fresno State, the only WAC team to win a series in Reno, took two of three games at Peccole Park the next weekend. The Pack then swept San Jose State for the first time in the history of Peccole Park and won two of three games at Sacramento State the following weekend to improve to 9-6 in league play. Nevada closed out its WAC home schedule going 5-1, taking two of three from Louisiana Tech and sweeping three from Hawai`i to move into second place in the conference standings. With three games left in conference play the Pack would need a sweep at SJSU and have Hawai`i sweep Fresno State in Honolulu, Hawaii to claim the regular season title. After dropping the first game at SJSU, FS was awarded the regular season title. The Pack lost two of its three games to the Spartans to finish the WAC regular season in second place with a 15-9 record.
Wolf Pack Battle Through Losers Bracket To Finish Second In WAC Tournament
The 2007 WAC Tournament would be played at Nevada’s Peccole Park and as the second seed the Wolf Pack would take on fifth seed Hawai`i in the first round. Ryan Rodriguez silenced the Rainbow bats and the offense exploded to knock off UH 11-1 in a game that ended after seven innings due to the 10-run rule in tournament play. In the second round the Pack would face SJSU for the fourth time in five games. Two costly errors led to four unearned runs scoring as the Pack fell 5-1 to the Spartans. Nevada would now need to battle through the losers bracket to claim the title. First up they would need to defeat Hawai`i for the fifth consecutive time and jumped out to an early 6-0 lead only to have the Rainbows tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and force extra innings. The Pack scored twice in the 11th on the way to the 8-6 victory. A fifth meeting in seven games with SJSU was next for the Pack. Mario Rivera, the third Pack pitcher in the game, pitched six innings to get the win as Nevada held on for an 11-9 victory to advance to the title game versus Fresno State. Pitching on short rest Rodriguez was ineffective against FS as the Pack lost 17-4 to finish second in the tournament.
Nevada placed four players on the all-tournament team in second baseman David Ciarlo, third baseman Jason Rodriguez, Shaun Kort in the designated hitter spot, and relief pitcher Matt Renfree. On Saturday Renfree earned a win over Hawai`i and a save in the second game of the day for the Pack versus SJSU.
Honors A Plenty
After such a successful season several players received numerous honors. Senior Ryan Rodriguez was named WAC Pitcher of the Year and first baseman Shaun Kort was selected as the WAC Freshman of the Year. Rodriguez was joined on the All-WAC first team by outfielder Terry Walsh, designated hitter Baker Krukow, and relief pitcher Matt Renfree. Kort was named to the second team along with starting pitcher Rod Scurry, and shortstop Chris Siewert.
During the regular season a Pack player garnered weekly WAC honors eight times. Rodriguez was named WAC Pitcher of the Week twice while Mario Rivera and Kyle Howe each earned the honor once. Catcher Konrad Schmidt and Kort were each honored as the WAC Hitter of the Week twice. Kort was also named the Rivals.com Newcomer of the Week the first week of the season after hitting a three-run homer in his first collegiate at bat. After tossing eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts at New Mexico State Rodriguez was honored for the West Region pitching performance of the week by insidepitching.com. Schmidt was named College Sports Television Player of the Game after going three for five with three runs scored and an RBI in the first nationally televised game at Peccole Park and in the history of Nevada baseball. Before the season got underway Rodriguez and Walsh were selected to the WAC Preseason Coaches’ team.
Several team and individual records were set during the 2007 season. Most notably was Ryan Rodriguez setting three school career marks as he ended his four-year career with 32 wins, 398.2 innings pitched, and 331 strikeouts. Rodriguez’ 106 strikeouts this past season ranks as the fourth best single season in school history and his 119.1 innings pitched is tied for the fourth most in a season. After making 67 consecutive starts during his career he leaves the school tied for eighth in pitching appearances. The 398.2 career innings pitched is the fourth best total in WAC history and the 32 career victories is tied for 11th.
Junior second baseman David Ciarlo started all 61 games at second base and the 61 games played is tied for the most by any Pack player in Nevada history. First baseman Shaun Kort and catcher Konrad Schmidt played in 59 games each which is tied for the eighth most games played in a season. Senior designated hitter/catcher Baker Krukow played in 187 games during his four seasons at Nevada to end his playing days 10th in career games played.
First baseman Shaun Kort’s 87 hits is tied for the sixth most in a season by a Pack player and his .392 average is tied for the 10th best single season. Center fielder Jason Sadoian’s 15 times being hit by pitch is tied for 10th most in a season at Nevada. Senior relief pitcher Matt Renfree was 5-0 this past season and the 1.000 won loss percentage with a minimum of five decisions is tied the top spot in school history and his 24 appearances is tied for the ninth most in a season. Renfree’s 74 career appearances are tied for third most in school history. Reliever Mario Rivera recorded five saves on the year which is tied for the 10th best single season in Wolf Pack history.
As a team the Pack set a couple of school marks with 139 doubles and 531.2 innings pitched.
Pack Rank High In Several WAC Statistics Categories
The Pack ended the year with a .310 batting average which tied Louisiana Tech for second best in the WAC. The team’s 5.03 ERA was third and .965 fielding percentage ranked sixth among the leagues seven teams.
First baseman Shaun Kort won WAC batting title in his freshman year hitting .392 while teammate Terry Walsh was second with a .368 average. Catcher Konrad Schmidt ended the season eighth with a .349 average. Kort’s 87 hits and .461 on base percentage was third in the conference while he also ranked in slugging percentage(.586,6th), RBI(50,T9th), doubles(17,T7th), triples(4,T6th), and total bases(130,7th). Schmidt ended the season ninth in slugging percentage(.555) and tied for 10th with eight home runs. Following the conclusion of the season the fifth-year senior signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to being second in hitting Walsh was ninth with a .438 on base percentage. Junior outfielder Jason Sadoian tied for second in the WAC after being hit by pitch 15 times.
Pack ace Ryan Rodriguez led the WAC with 119.1 innings pitched and also ranked in ERA(3.75,4th), opposing batting average(.265,3rd), strikeouts(106,2nd), wins(9,T2nd), starts(18,T3rd), and pickoffs(4,T4th). Rod Scurry caught 24 hitters looking which was sixth in the conference.
In WAC Play Pack Boasts Top Two Hitters
Nevada’s .328 average in WAC only games was second to Fresno State’s .329 league batting average. The Pack’s 4.54 ERA was also second in the league and their .964 fielding percentage ranked sixth.
Several Wolf Pack players ended the year ranked in various statistical categories in WAC play. Outfielder Terry Walsh claimed the batting crown hitting .434 followed by first baseman Shaun Kort’s .424 average. Catcher Konrad Schmidt was fifth with a .388 average. Kort’s 42 hits led the league and Schmidt was third with 38. Kort finished with 60 total bases in WAC play to tie for third in that category. Third baseman Jason Rodriguez tied for fourth with 24 runs scored.
Pitchers Rod Scurry and Ryan Rodriguez posted the fourth and 10th best ERA’s in league play respectively at 3.89 and 4.61. Rodriguez’ five WAC victories were second in the league. The Pack’s starting rotation of Rodriguez(tied 3rd), Scurry(5th), and Kyle Howe(6th) were all in the top six in strikeouts with 49, 38, and 37 strikeouts respectively. Reliever Mario Rivera tied for the top spot in the league with five saves in conference play.
Nevada Returns Solid Nucleus For 2008
Despite the loss of nine seniors the Pack return the bulk of their team for the 2008 season as six starters and two members of the team’s three-man rotation are expected back. Two key spots the Pack must fill for 2008 is at catcher and shortstop. Nevada will also be looking for a pitcher to fill the spot of the dependable Ryan Rodriguez, the team’s ace the past season. Several key reserves return and will be asked to step up their play in 2008 along with a solid incoming recruiting class.