Rally time Miners take key win over Grizzlies
Confidence has helped carry the Nevada Union baseball team a long way this season. Wednesday afternoon, patience helped carry the Miners to a 3-2 Metro League victory at home against Photo:2226508,left;Granite Bay.
Daniel Graning’s two-run triple tied the score in the sixth inning, then Kelcey Wirick delivered a two-out single down the right field line that drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh at Theodore White Field.
With the come-from-behind win, Nevada Union (9-4 league, 14-7 overall) edged closer to second-place Granite Bay (8-3, 15-4) in the Metro standings. The two teams meet again Friday in a 4:15 p.m. contest at Nevada Union.
“The thing about these guys right now, every time they go out on the field, they expect to win,” said NU coach Ted White, whose club has now won 11 of its last 14 games. “Earlier in the year, it was more like they were playing not to lose. Now, no matter whether they’re down or in a tight situation, they’re confident that they’ll win. They’re finding ways to win.”
Limited to just three hits by Granite Bay ace Mike Nielebeck over five innings, the Miners broke through to score three runs on five hits in their last two at-bats.
What happened? Look no further than Nielebeck’s pitch count. The right-hander threw only 31 pitches through four innings while facing only 13 batters.
“He was throwing well, hitting his spots, and we were a little too anxious,” said Wirick, who went 2-for-4 on the day. “The last three innings, we adjusted pretty well.”
That adjustment was the difference, according to White.
“We were a little impatient from the get-go, then they settled down and started waiting for their pitch, and that was huge,” the coach said.
Granite Bay took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Derek Eid singled and eventually scored on a two-out fly ball that was misplayed for an error in the outfield. The Grizzlies extended their lead to 2-0 in the fifth as Eid drew a one-out walk and scored on a fielder’s choice.
Nevada Union got on the scoreboard with a two-out rally in the sixth. Josh Noxon hit a flare that dropped into right field for a single, Nic Gauldin hit a sharp single past first base, then Graning hit a drive into the gap in left-center field that went for a bases-clearing and game-tying triple.
The Miners extended their magic to the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Genovese hit a slow grounder up the middle for a hit and then took second on the play, thanks to a throwing error. Josh Pitts advanced the runner with a ground out to second, setting the stage for Wirick, who stroked a 2-2 pitch over first base to bring home pinch runner Tom Brindley with the game-winning run.
“Coach has just been saying, ‘Look fastball and adjust offspeed.’ That’s what I did. He threw an offspeed pitch outside and I just went with it,” Wirick said.
Gauldin wound up with the complete-game victory, as the senior right-hander allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out six and issued just one walk.
“That was one of Nic’s strongest performances of the year,” White said. “He always throws well, but sometimes he has a tendency to start slow and then get stronger as the game goes on. Today, he was strong from pitch one.”
And as far as the Miners were concerned, the finish wasn’t so bad, either.
“That was a great-played game between two great teams,” White said.
To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
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