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Roseville baseball trio adapts, contributes at next level

By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Times have changed. Talks with mom and dad are cut short, and the team bus doesn’t wait.

Shaun Mize and Brad Gerig made a quick trip home Tuesday with the University of Nevada Reno to play a baseball game at Sacramento State.

After the host Hornets completed a 4-1 victory, the bus was loaded, fired up and ready for boarding for the ride back to Reno. A stack of pizzas probably made the trip a little easier.

“It’s different than driving down the street to a rival high school and playing,” Mize said.

Gerig, a junior, and freshmen Mize and Mark Reece are contributing in their first season with the Wolf Pack (5-4). Gerig, a Roseville resident who won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship with Jesuit in 2009, is hitting .300 with a home run for Nevada. He has started eight of nine games and shares the team lead with six runs, six RBI and four doubles.

Reece, who won the Division II section title with Roseville in 2011, is a preferred walk-on who has earned the early nod as the Wolf Pack’s No. 4 starter. He shook off a rough outing in his college debut against Kansas by allowing one run, three hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings against Northern Illinois in his next outing.

“It’s always interesting to see how a true freshman is going to react,” Wolf Pack director of operations Cameron McMullen said of Reece, who didn’t travel to Sacramento because he’s a weekend starter. “A lot of balls are left up, which is always a sign of nerves. He’s learning how to pitch. He can’t beat guys with just a fastball anymore.”

Reece threw 58 of his 92 pitches for strikes against Northern Illinois and lowered his ERA to 4.00.

Mize, who played for Woodcreek’s Division II section-championship team last spring, made his second start at shortstop Tuesday. He went 1 for 4, drove in Nevada’s only run and is hitting .286 and has appeared in five games.

“It’s been a big step, but it’s still baseball, the game you’ve played your whole life,” Mize said before spending a quick few minutes with dad Paul and mom Cindy.

Nevada Reno will bypass Roseville altogether Tuesday on its way to Stockton to play University of the Pacific at 6 p.m. The Wolf Pack will visit UC Davis at 2:30 p.m. March 12.

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.