On a rainy Tuesday afternoon at Ted White Field, the Nevada Union baseball team fell behind early, battled back but eventually lost, 7-5, to Del Campo.
After falling behind 6-0 after two innings, the Miners (4-2) chipped away at the Cougar lead, whittling it down to one run in the sixth and putting the tying run on base in the seventh with one out. But NU couldn’t complete the comeback as Del Campo’s closer, Jared Biggs, got the final two Miners out without incident.
“It was a cold, rainy day, and the game was about ready to get called. It would have been easy to cash it in,” Nevada Union head coach Ted White said. “I was proud of the way they came back and battled, but you can’t spot good teams that many runs. But there was a lot of positives to build on.”
The Miners got down in the first inning when starting pitcher Cody Gardner walked a pair of batters, who both scored.
In the second, an error put on base a Del Campo player who was eventually plated on a sac fly. Del Campo scored three more runs with two outs in the inning. Doubles by Mike Hatfield and Derrick Rodrigo, as well as a walk by Tyler Swank and a base knock from Tim Land, gave the Cougars a 6-0 advantage after two.
“You can’t spot them six runs early,” White said. “Our big thing is that pitching sets the tempo, and Cody wasn’t on today.”
The Miners threatened in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with just one out and with one of their strongest bats at the plate in Dylan Conger, batting .529 entering the contest, but the Cougars played him perfectly. Conger sent a sharp grounder back up the middle where the Del Campo short stop was positioned, and the Cougars easily turned the double play to get out of the inning.
The Miners’ offense truly came to life in the third with a leadoff hit down the third-base line by Zach White. Jacob Freele drew a walk, and back-to-back errors by Del Campo allowed White and Freele to score. Travis Hansen followed with a single, and another Cougar error loaded the bases.
Del Campo struck out the next NU batter, but NU senior Nick Eccarius came through with an RBI walk to close the gap to three runs, and a passed ball allowed Hansen to cross, making the score 6-4. The Miners batted around in the third and scored four runs but left the bases loaded for the second time in three innings. NU stranded 11 runners on the day.
Junior relief pitcher Beau Des Pois came in for NU in the third and threw an inning of shutout ball before getting pulled for Garrett O’Callaghan in the fourth. O’Callaghan, a lefty, stifled the Cougar lineup, throwing three scoreless innings in relief.
The Miners climbed to within one run of the Cougars in the sixth with a two-out RBI single to the opposite field by Gardner. Freele scored the run after singling, and then moving into scoring position after a Matt Paruszkiewicz sac bunt.
O’Callaghan was pulled in the seventh for Joey Souza, who lasted two batters before being pulled for Eccarius.
The Cougars plated an insurance run in the seventh on a sac fly, but Eccarius did a good job of limiting the damage, leaving three Cougars stranded on base. Del Campo left nine base runners stranded on the day.
In the Miners’ last at bat, Ryan McCarthy and Eccarius drew one-out walks to put the tying run on, but a strikeout followed by a harmless pop fly ended any hopes of a comeback.
Offensively for the Miners, Gardner was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Eccarius added an RBI, Hansen was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Freele went 1-for-3 with a single and two runs scored.
“There were a lot of little things that hurt us today,” Ted White said. “We can’t just show up and put our gloves on. We got to compete. The thing is it’s still preseason, and this is where we figure it out.”
The Miners will get another chance to compete at 6:30 p.m. Thursday when they travel to Raley Field to play Oakmont.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.