Wolf Pack baseball bests Fresno
Tribune new service
Bradey Shipley admits he got caught up in the moment Friday night at Peccole Park.
“It was a big game and I got a little excited,” the Nevada Wolf Pack pitcher said. “I let it get the best of me.”
Shipley, though, didn’t let the Fresno State Bulldogs get the best of him. The junior right-hander earned his fourth victory of the year without a loss as the Wolf Pack took the first game of this three-game Mountain West series, 5-3.
“I always love playing Fresno State,” said Shipley, who allowed just eight hits, a walk and a run while striking out eight. “It’s always fun going against those guys. The games always mean a lot.”
Shipley, with a dozen or so major league scouts sitting behind home plate watching his every move, didn’t have a whole lot of fun early in the game. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder allowed two hits, a walk and a run as he labored through a 25-pitch first inning.
“I was just overthrowing everything,” Shipley said. “I was just out there trying to do too much.”
Fresno’s Austin Wynns drove in a run with a ground ball single that just got past Pack shortstop Kyle Hunt in the first inning to give Fresno a brief 1-0 lead.
“Early in the game everything he threw was flat,” said Pack coach Gary Powers, whose team improved to 16-10 overall and 4-3 in the Mountain West. “You can’t live on velocity alone. I don’t care how hard you throw, if everything you throw is flat, it’s going to get hit. Once he got on a better downward plane, his ball started to move and he found his rhythm and did a real nice job.”
“He (Shipley) just had too much adrenaline early in the game,” said Pack catcher Ryan Teel. “I think those (scouts’ radar) guns got him excited. That’s only natural.”
Shipley struck out the Bulldogs in order in the second and then allowed two hits in the third and worked out of the jam.
“From about the third inning on I settled down and found my groove,” Shipley said.
Shipley allowed just four hits and no runs over his final five innings and only one Fresno State runner advanced as far as second.
“When he’s struggling a little bit I don’t have to say much to him,” Teel said. “He knows what he’s doing wrong and I know he’s going to fix it. When he’s going good like he was those last few innings, he’s a joy to catch. I just put my glove down and he hits it.”
Shipley now has a 2.31 earned run average over seven starts this season. He’s allowed just 40 hits in 50.2 innings and has struck out 52 and walked just 13.
“From the third inning on all my stuff was working for me,” Shipley said. “At that point it got real easy. I was hitting my spots in and out.”
Austin Byler drove in his team-leading 28th run with a single in the first inning as the Pack tied the score at 1-1. The Pack offense then gave Shipley all the runs he needed with three in the fifth. Klein doubled home Jamison Rowe for a 2-1 lead and Hugo Hernandez doubled in Klein and Byler for a 4-1 lead.
“We didn’t swing the bats that well tonight,” Powers said. “We had a chance to put their starter (Tyler Linehan) away early but we were chasing balls all over the park, trying to do too much. We have to be more disciplined than that.”
Teel drove a pitch by Fresno reliever William Munro over the left-center field fence for a solo home run in the sixth for a 5-1 Pack lead.
“I was ecstatic,” the 6-foot-1 sophomore catcher said. “That’s my first home run in a Pack uniform. I was just up there looking for my pitch, middle in, and I got it.”
It is Teel’s first home run in 98 at-bats over the last two seasons.
“I was stoked,” Teel said. “That was my first. Hopefully there will be more.”
The Bulldogs (5-17, 1-4) and Wolf Pack will meet against Saturday night (6:05 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (1:05 p.m.) at Peccole Park.
“I can feel a different energy on this team now,” Shipley said. “On Wednesday when we came out to practice, I could feel it. I’m super excited about what this team can do this year.”