Category: Softball


It’s that time of year again. Spring. The weather will get nicer. What better way to spend an afternoon than taking in a Wolf Pack baseball or softball game? I’ll admit, the softball, though few would hardly call me being overly nice to them in articles, holds a special place in my heart. Aside from the volleyball team, it was the  softball team that was really my first beat when I started writing for the Sagebrush back in 2008-09. There was nothing like getting out of class, sitting at the ballpark on a sunny afternoon just taking in a game.

Yet, perhaps its time for a change to the baseball and softball programs. I know head coach Gary Powers has been every bit as much an institution for Wolf Pack baseball as Chris Ault has been for football. But, it’s clear that in recent years, Nevada hasn’t been able to compete. And it’s had good players like Brock Stassi and Nick Melino. I’m not saying the team should have won WAC championship after championship, but it should have been far more competitive than it was.

The softball team…head coach Matt Meuchel has had his time. There needs to be some changes. Look, I understand that Meuchel had the benefit of Brittany Puzey and some other players his first year. And I know that it takes some time to get your system in. But, come on. I know the Sagebrush just ran a column that this team is close and that if a few bounces had gone its way, it’d have a much better record.

Frankly, I have to disagree with that theory. Sports isn’t about moral victories. It’s not about saying “Well, they just got unlucky.” No, in sports, you make your own luck. If the Wolf Pack had played well enough to win all those games, it would have won most of them. You know what separates the great teams from everyone else? They can win the close games. They don’t let bad luck bring them down. They don’t need people to make excuses for them. The move to the MWC is a new beginning next year. And, I think Cary Groth has to think about making some big changes.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Ah, spring is just around the corner. For Wolf Pack fans, that means the spring sports are about to hit full swing (pardon the pun). Today, I start with the Nevada softball team. Check back later this week for my baseball team preview.

Head coach Matt Meuchel is in an extremely important year. When he took over, the Wolf Pack won the regular season Western Athletic Conference championship, was nationally ranked and made it to a super regional. Since then? Nevada’s become bottom dwellers. Meuchel’s had a chance to bring in the players he’s wanted to. Now, it’s time for the team to perform. The Wolf Pack was picked to finish fifth in the conference. Are they prime to prove people wrong?

Pitching

Senior Mallary Darby is likely to be called upon to be the team’s ace once again this year. She had tough 2011 campaign, going 12-26 with a 5.30 Earned-Run Average. Ariel Craig and Bailey Brewer will likely see a lot more innings this season and they will have to improve from their 7.52 and 10.78 ERAs from a season ago. The trio gave up a combined batting average of .328 while the Wolf Pack hit just .271.

Hitting

The Wolf Pack’s pitching may have struggled last season. But, the team’s bats didn’t exactly help the situation either. Nevada’s batting average (.271) paled in comparison to what its opponents hit (.328). Nevada scored just 200 runs in 47 games while giving up 338 runs. The team recorded 280 strikeouts.

The good news is three of the teams top four batters, in terms of batting average, are returning this year in Erin Jones, Karley Hopkins and Caylin Campbell. But, the team will have to replace former Wolf Pack players Britton Murdock and Danielle Patrick, who led the team in Runs Batted In last season. The question will be can any of Nevada’s players step up enough and find enough consistency to fill these holes.

Infield/outfield

The team’s 68 errors must come down this season. Look for Jones and Hopkins to become the leaders of the team this season. And they need it. Catcher Chelsea Venable also needs to improve all around. The communication between pitcher and catcher needs to be spot on this season.

Prediction

The WAC is stacked once again this season, with four teams receiving first place votes. I just don’t see how Nevada can compete this year.

With a new school year brings new sports seasons. And with new sports seasons come expectations. Should any of the head coaches be on the hot seat?

Clearly, for me, it’s the spring sports who will be feeling the heat the most. Baseball head coach Gary Powers and softball head coach Matt Meuchel need to have good seasons in my mind, or they could be in trouble. Realistically, Powers, who has been with the Wolf Pack for nearly three decades leading the baseball team, will likely be safe no matter what happens this season, but Nevada’s baseball team has turned in disappointing seasons the last few years. It’s time Powers either begins to turn the program around, or maybe it’s time to get some fresh blood to try and ignite the program. Meuchel should really be on the hot seat. After leading the team to a regular season conference title in his first season, the Wolf Pack has turned in two abysmal seasons, becoming a laughing stock of the WAC. Whatever Meuchel is doing, it’s not working. It’s his players who are coming in and they aren’t getting the job done. Meuchel needs to show signs of major improvement, or his reign at the helm of the softball team will be a short one.

Soccer head coach Missy Price may also start to hear the rumblings from frustrated fans if the team doesn’t do well this season. The Wolf Pack has suffered two major collapses near the end of the season in each of Price’s first two years and if it happens again, the blame has to be put on Price.

I believe both basketball coaches, David Carter and Jane Albright, will be fine. Albright will have the benefit of fans knowing the team needs to rebuild while Carter, the expectations will be that the team should be a contender this season, unless the Wolf Pack does disastrously bad, he’ll be alright. Football head coach Chris Ault will be fine too with most fans not expecting the team to repeat the 13-1 2010 season.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It’s Tuesday and that means everyone should head over to http://www.nevadasagebrush.com!

Among the stories you will find are:

The full proposal of the university if all of Governor Brian Sandoval’s proposed cuts will go through.

Stories on the two boxers Nevada is sending to the national championships and how they took very different paths to get there.

What’s wrong with the softball team and does it stand any chance of fixing itself?

Lukas Eggen

Around the WAC

SOFTBALL

The 2011 softball season is set to kick off this weekend with many of the Western Athletic Conference’s teams in action. Defending champion Hawaii was picked to repeat, picking of six of eight first-place votes. Fresno State, who was picked second, received the final two first-place votes.

The full list and the preseason All-WAC teams can be found here.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The WAC has taken action against Louisiana Tech and Fresno State after an altercation between the two teams. The Lady Techsters defeated the Bulldogs 90-84 and the two teams met at center court after the completion of the game. Both teams have been publicly reprimanded and Fresno State player Marnique Arnold and Louisiana Tech player Briatta Thomas were suspended for one game.

The Fresno Bee has an article about the event and can be read here.

Men’s Basketball

When Utah State headed into its game against Idaho, the Aggies had  a chance to clinch at least a share of the conference title. Ranked No. 17, Utah State had won 17 games in a row, was undefeated in conference play and had only two losses overall.

Idaho, however, upset the Aggies 64-56 at home, ending Utah State’s winning streak. The victory was Idaho’s first against a ranked team since the 2009 season when the Vandals defeated No. 25 Portland.

You can read about the game here.