Buster’s ninth-inning blast lifts Giants over Snakes in opener

Buster Posey cranks a two-run home run off Addison Reed in the ninth to lead the Giants past Arizona on Opening Day. (USATSI)
Buster Posey cranks a two-run home run off Addison Reed in the ninth to lead the Giants past Arizona on Opening Day. (USATSI)

By DANIEL DULLUM

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Both Buster Posey and his manager, Bruce Bochy, are noncommittal about whether or not the San Francisco All-Star catcher will hit for more power this season.

“I think it’s fair to say that Buster had a little bit of a down year last year,” Bochy said. “It wasn’t a bad year, but he sets the bar so high. We’re looking for him to hit with some more power. He’ll hit his home runs, but he’s not a guy we’re looking at to hit a lot of home runs.”

Posey said, “I’m just going to try and do what I can do, stay within myself and help us win as many ballgames as we can, however many that is.

But if Opening Day at Chase Field is any indication, Posey might be on track for a memorable campaign.

Posey’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning put the Giants ahead to stay in a wild 9-8 NL West win over Arizona before a sellout crowd of 48,541.

“That was a good win, especially after we got down and our bullpen did a great job,” Posey said. “It was all in all, a good win.”

“For us to come back and win a game like that just shows what can happen when you go hard for nine innings,” Bochy said. “We got some big hits later in the game, then Buster came through for us in a big way.”

Bochy said he would try to get Posey a little more rest throughout the season, including the occasional start at first base.

“Sure, we’ll try to get him out of there for day games after night games, things like that,” Bochy said.

It’s only one game, but Bochy likes the idea of a full season of Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval, Posey and Hunter Pence hitting two through five in the Giants’ order.

“I think this is a lineup that’s capable of coming back more than we did last year,” Bochy said. “Our power, with the addition of Michael Morse, is going to help us. They showed tonight what we’re capable of.

“You look at Belt and the way he finished the second half, and the Sandoval is swinging the bat, and we should score runs.”

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner cruised through the first three innings, but suffered through a long fourth when Arizona scored four unearned runs while sending eight batters to the plate. Bumgarner wound up with a no-decision, striking out three, walking two and giving up six hits.

Jean Machi (1-0) threw a scoreless 1 2/3 innings to get the win in relief for San Francisco, while Sergio Romo hung on through a shaky ninth to pick up his first save.

“We struggled early and I hated to take Madison out,” Bochy said. “But we’re three runs down and he’s approaching 80 pitches. We had to do something to get this offense going.”

Posey hit his first home run of the season off Diamondbacks reliever Addison Reed (0-1) with two out, driving in Belt, who singled.

“It was a fastball,” Posey said of the home run pitch. “I’d never faced (Reed) before in spring training or anything. I was just looking for a pitch I could handle.”

Miguel Montero opened the bottom of the ninth with his first home run of the season; a line shot to right that closed the D-Backs’ deficit to 9-8. Chris Owings reached on a bunt single and was sacrificed to second by Gerrardo Parra. But Romo struck out pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, and A.J. Pollock popped out to Crawford at short to end the 3-hour, 25-minute game.

Belt led off the San Francisco sixth with his first home run, and the Giants tied the game by sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh. After Joaquin Arias reached on a fielder’s choice, pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza’s two-out double scored Arias to start the rally and chase Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy.

McCarthy struck out four and walked one, but also gave up six hits and five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“That was a great for a young guy like Adrianza to come through like that,” Bochy said. “I think that at-bat really is what won the game for us.”

Angel Pagan followed with an RBI double off reliever Oliver Perez – scoring Adrianza. Belt singled, then Sandoval, trying to avoid getting hit, accidentally sent a chopper with some wicked English on it past the shortstop Pollock and into shallow center field, scoring Crawford. Posey singled to load the bases, and Pence followed with a game-tying RBI walk.

“I think we want to be a team that keeps grinding, and it was nice to able to do that tonight,” Posey said. “We have that confidence to know that when we’re down, we have the ability to come back.”

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Brandon Crawford singled and scored on a two-out base hit by Angel Pagan. But the roof caved in for Bumgarner and the Giants in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Errors by Belt and Sandoval led to the first two Diamondback runs, allowing Mark Trumbo and Montero, respectively, to reach base. After Chris Owings singled to load the bases, Gerrardo Parra singled in Trumbo and Montero. McCarthy and A.J. Pollock struck out, but Aaron Hill doubled to drive in Owings and Parra, giving the Diamondbacks a 4-1 lead.

“Madison was throwing the ball well,” Bochy said. “There was that one inning where we gave them too many outs and they (the D-Backs) took advantage of that.”

Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-5 for the D-Backs, extending his hitting streak to 22 games, and Trumbo was 3-for-5 in his Arizona debut. After striking out in his first two at-bats, Belt finished the game 3-for-5 with a home run, two singles and three runs scored. Pagan, Posey and Crawford each had two hits for San Francisco.

Tomorrow’s pitching matchup features Matt Cain for San Francisco against the Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley.

GIANTS JOTTINGS: Prior to the game, the Diamondbacks released C Henry Blanco, 42, from his minor league contract and was added to the team’s major league coaching staff. … On this date 16 years ago, the D-Backs played their inaugural regular season game, a 9-2 loss to Colorado at then-Bank One Ballpark. … This is the fifth consecutive season that the Giants have opened the season on the road, and the 23rd time in their last 30 seasons. … Joe Garagiola Sr., Hall of Fame broadcaster and 2014 Buck O’Neill Award recipient, threw out the first pitch. … Arizona IB Paul Goldschmidt and INF Gerrardo Parra received their 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards before the game. Goldschmidt also received his 2013 Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron and Mel Ott awards. Parra also received his 2013 Wilson NL Defensive Player of the Year award. …

MORE FUN STUFF: Bill Arnold reports that LHP Madison Bumgarner is the third-youngest Giants opening day starter since the team moved west from New York in 1958, and the third-youngest left-handed opening day starter in franchise history, going back to 1883. Only Ledell “Cannonball” Titcomb (21 years, 242 days on April 20, 1888 at Washington) and Mark Davis (23 years and 167 days on April 3, 1984 vs. Chicago Cubs) were younger than Bumgarner. … According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Sydney Cricket Ground (opened in 1854) in Australia became the oldest known stadium to host a regular season Major League Baseball game when the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers played a two-game series there in March. The previous record holder was Union Grounds, which opened in 1862 and was home of the New York Mutuals in 1876.

(TAGS: San Francisco Giants,Arizona Diamondbacks,MLB,Buster Posey)

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Lots of rain in forecast for A’s first two games

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by Amauary Pi Gonzalez

ANAHEIM–There’s a lot of enthusiasm going for this first series at the Coliseum against Cleveland it’s like Christmas for these baseball fans and most teams are opening the season on Monday night, although the sesaon was already open since the Dodgers-Diamondbacks in Australia played last week as the Dodgers took two out of three from the Diamondbacks.

Then the Dodgers played the Padres at Petco for another series opener this time in North America on Sunday Night Baseball. The Dodgers lost to the Padres 3-1, so the Dodgers are 2-0 in Sydney and 0-1 in San Diego. The A’s are going to try and start sometime in these next two days against Cleveland with all this rain.

The Angels here in Anaheim will start Jarrod Weaver against Felix Hernandez for the Seattle on Monday at Angels Stadium. Weather forcast for Tuesday and Wednesday they expect lots of rain in the Southland. In Northern California it rained hard Monday and it’s going to hit the Southland on Tuesday on Wednesday.

Sandy Koufax helped some of the young Dodgers pitchers while coaching this spring: Koufax the former Dodger Hall of Fame pitcher was out there giving tips to some of the Dodgers pitchers and you know in baseball it goes from father to son, it’s a gernerational thing and that is the beauty of baseball.

You can see at any given moment Koufax in Glendale Arizona with Clayton Kernshaw telling him how he threw a curve ball in 1964 and why it was Koufax’s bread and butter pitch that made him a success. Koufax was the best lefty of all time and former Brave Warren Spahn was a great left hander but Koufax was a sensational pitcher.

The same thing you could say what is great about seeing everybody at spring training is the Giants had Willie Mays in camp during spring training helping out the younger players in Scottsdale. I saw Rickey Henderson at the A’s camp at Phoenix Muni last week giving tips and Rickey is a great player and a Hall of Famer and that is the beauty of going to Arizona for spring training.

I work in broadcasting and I’m a fan of the game and I love it and I’ve been watching baseball since I was seven and eight years old back in the old Cuban leagues back in the 1950s. That is the beauty of spring training fans can go down to Arizona and Florida and go and watch these guys from the past.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish TV voice for the Los Angeles Angels and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk radio

Cal Bears basketball report: Monty gave Cal his best years announces retirement to team

Cal coach Mike Montgomery apologized for shoving Allen Crabbe during Sunday's win over USC. Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Cal coach Mike Montgomery apologized for shoving Allen Crabbe during Sunday’s win over USC.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

by Morris Phillips and Michael Duca

BERKELEY–Cal Bears head coach Mike Montgomery announced his retirement to the team on Monday after talking with Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour. Barbour was insistent that he reconsider and stay given what’s going on with the program and with the football program struggling and the basketball team being the bell weather with their successes.

This is something they’ve given a lot of thought to and according to reports as recently as a couple of weeks ago that he was looking towards retirement and this is the way Montgomery is going to go. At age 67 he’s done everything that you could do in coaching and nows the time.

Although Montgomery had bladder cancer he’s comepletely healthy at this point, there weren’t any issues in regards to his health this season and it’s hard to say if the cancer was a part of the reason why he’s retiring. He’s healthy now thank God and if he retires he’ll retire healthy.

Monty could have coached at Cal for as long as he wanted to and in his six year run at Cal he is arguably as impressive as his 18 year run at Stanford. Starting from the first year at Cal he took a team that former Cal coach Ben Braun had a real struggle with and turned them into first year conference champions and obviously Cal hasn’t won a conference championship in years.

Montgomery followed that up with four NCAA appearences, NIT appearences, no losing seasons, he’s got two years left on his contract but I’m sure if he wanted to stay longer he could. This program despertately needs him. They need his energy and his ability to win and draw attention to the university.

He could not be a in a more sucure spot in regards to his situation at Cal, in 32 years coaching at Montana, Stanford, and at Cal he’s compiled a win-loss record of 678-316 and 16 NCAA Tournament appearences. College sports is a constant business as Montgomery retires the university will have to move on.

The University will continue to nationally recruit and also in their own backyard at the local Oakland high school with Ivan Rabb at Bishop O’Dowd a top ranked junior a major national recruit and in order to keep that young man at home their going to need a solid situation and a place that doesn’t include Montgomery and they’re going to want to move forward.

Michael Duca and Morris Phillips covered Cal basketball for Sportstalk radio during the 2013-14 season

SaberCats Come Close But Fall To Power 48-47

Photo Courtesy SJ Sabercats
Photo Courtesy SJ Sabercats

By Kahlil Najar and Emily Zahner

PITTSBURGH –The San Jose SaberCats (2-1) were unable to complete a two point conversion with under three seconds left in the game to lose a tight game 48-47 to the Pittsburgh Power (1-1). Outstanding rookie quarterback Nathan Stanley was able to pull the Cats within the last minute of play as he was able to connect on two touchdowns to Reggie Gray who continued to prove that he deserves the nickname Big Play.

The SaberCats played catch up the entire game. The Power started off with three straight touchdowns from Power QB Tommy Grady which included two passing touchdowns to Prechae Rodriguez and a rushing touchdown of his own to give the power a 21-0 lead after one quarter of play. The Cats were able to get on the board in the second quarter on a five yard pass from Stanley to Huey Whittaker to give the Cats their first points of the game but the Grady found Rodriguez again for two more scores to give Rodriguez four touchdowns in the first half and make it a 35-7 lead for the power. Before the half ended JJ Payne contributed a rushing touchdown and David Hyland made a recovery off the net on the kickoff and dove three yards into the end zone for a touchdown which brought the score to 35-20 at the half.

In the second half, the Cats and Power traded a pair of touchdowns and after the Powers last score Stanley moved the offense down the field where he found Gray from eight yards out in the end zone and brought the game to a seven point deficit. Then on an onside kickoff attempt Marc Scheichl recovered the ball for San Jose and gave the Cats the ball back with 45 seconds left on the clock. Stanley brought the team down again and found Gray for an amazing one-handed over-the-wall touchdown with three seconds left in the game. After the touchdown, the Cats decided to go for the win instead of playing for overtime and Stanley was unable to connect with Willis and brought the score to the final of 48-47.

Stanley had a good game overall as he threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns however his three interceptions proved extremely costly in his first loss of his professional career. Reggie Gray continued to show his magic on the field and he contributed two touchdowns and 126 yards receiving. Huey Whittaker only had 19 yards receiving however those yards netted him three touchdowns on the night.

The SaberCats head home for a game this coming Friday against the Spokane Shock at the SAP Center at 7:30pm PST.

 

 

Chavez Continues Impressive Spring with Fifth Win, A’s Beat Giants 4-1

Photo Courtesy USA Today
Photo Courtesy USA Today

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – A’s pitcher Jesse Chavez (5-1, 2.22 ERA) looked great in his seventh appearance of spring training and beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-1. Chavez continued his domination during spring training as he took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning until Angel Pagan hit a double to get the Giant’s their first hit of the game. John Jaso and Sam Fuld provided the offensive power for the A’s tonight while the Giants were only able to score one run in the bottom of the ninth.

“It was a good one to finish off like that and go into the season and build off  of that one,” said Chavez on the win tonight. “Getting ahead was key for me tonight. If you can get ahead, you’re more than likely to succeed.”

On Chavez, Coach Bob Melvin said “Jesse’s been really sharp and efficient this spring. He had a really good cutter tonight and mixed his curve ball in just enough to slow him down a bit. He was on the corners all night.”

Tonight’s win solidified Chavez as a bona fied  starter in the A’s rotation and gives the Oakland faithful something to be grateful for after losing Jarrod Parker for the season. When asked about being a starter and how to keep it going, Chavez said, “I can’t get complacent. I still have to stay after it and keep doing what I’m doing and not change anything. I’ve been able to focus a lot more knowing that I have to go through line up three or four times. I’m happy that they have the confidence in me to put in me in the rotation and I don’t want them to think they made the wrong decision.”

“This is something he’s always strives for is to be a starter. He’s earned, he deserves it and you can see his confidence grows each time he goes out there,”said Melvin echoing his confidence in Chavez.

On offense, Oakland’s John Jaso hit his first homer of spring training on a first pitch 2-seam fast ball from Tim Lincecum (1-1, 5.79 ERA) to give the A’s a 1-0 lead in the third.

In the top of the fourth, the Giants biggest fear came to reality when Daric Barton hit a shot into Lincecum’s left leg and immediately dropped him. After stretching on the ground and taking time to make sure nothing was broken, the Giants were able to get Lincecum to get off the field with some help from the trainers. Luckily it was a left knee contusion and x-rays didn’t find anything.

“You never want anybody to see get hit by a come backer especially someone of his caliber,” said Chavez.

In the fifth, Jaso walked, Nick Punto doubled and Daric Barton walked to get the bases loaded for  spring training phenom Sam Flud. Flud didn’t disappoint as he took a 2-seam fastball to right field past the out-stretched body of Brandon Belt and into the deep part of right field that Hunter Pence had to scoop up and relay to home. By the time the ball reached home Flud was standing at third and had three more RBI added to his stat sheet to give the A’s a 4-0 lead.

The Giants were able to break up the no-hitter that Chavez had going into the sixth when Angel Pagan hit a double to A’s left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. After the hit, Melvin pulled Chavez ended  his night with 5 1/3 innings pitched with one hit, one walk and five strike outs.

“I don’t normally take out guys of potential no-hitters,” Melvin said. “At the time, I was almost glad that Pagan got the hit, to tell you the truth. But it was impressive. He was on it all night.”

The Giants were able to get to A’s closer Jim Johnson for one run in the bottom of the ninth but then he settled down and got Sanchez to fly out to Flud to end the game.

Both teams head to the other side of the Bay to continue the Bay Bridge series in Oakland when Dan Strailey takes on the Giant’s Edwin Escobar, game time 1:05 pm.

 

Cal Advances Into NIT Quarterfinals For First Time Since 2000 With 75-64 Win Over Arkansas

Photo Courtesy Cal Bears
Photo Courtesy Cal Bears

By Kahlil Najar

In a battle between a two and three seed, the California Golden Bears held off the feisty Arkansas Razorbacks 75 -64. Ca was led by Jabari Bird who scored 19 points and David Kravish who tossed in 13 points and snagged eight rebounds . Tyrone Wallace poure in 16 points and Senior Justin Cobbs scored 9 in his final game at Haas Pavilion. The Bears now face top-seeded SMU this Wednesday in Dallas.

The Razorbacks didn’t start strong today but came back late in the second half when they went on a 20-7 run but was ultimately stopped by the Bears. Arkansas’ Rashad Madden was the start of the night for the Razobacks as he has 15 points and five rebounds. Freshman phenom Bobby Portis started off by scoring the Razorback’s first eight points and ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Cal started off fast thanks to Cobbs who was controlling the tempo early and had half of Cal’s points five minutes in the game. The Razorbacks made it tight when the brought the lead down to five but then the Bears went on a 16-0 run and were up 31-8 with under five minutes left in the first half.

In the second half, the Bears were ahead by 21 points with 15 minutes left to play but then the Razorbacks got their own hot streak when they went on a 20-7 run and brought the lead all way down to eight but Cal’s  Wallace was able to make four free throws and Cobbs got a well timed basket and gave the Bears their first visit to the NIT quarterfinals in 14 years.

 

TEAM NOTES

· With tonight’s 75-64 victory over Arkansas, the Bears have reached the NIT quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history. Cal is now 14-6 all-time in the NIT.

· Cal’s 15-point halftime lead tonight was its largest at the break since it led Furman 43-25 at halftime on Dec. 28

· The Bears shot .55.3 percent from the field, their highest clip since Jan. 18 against Washington State.

PLAYER NOTES

Senior Guard Justin Cobbs

· With six assists, moved into a tie with Jerome Randle for second place on Cal’s all-time list with 524 in his career

· With nine points Monday, now has 1,451 in his career. Cobbs is in 11th place on Cal’s all-time scoring list

Freshman Guard Jabari Bird

· Scored 19 points, the second-highest total of his career and most since scoring a career-high 24 vs. Oakland on Nov. 15

· Set a career-high with eight rebounds

Junior forward David Kravish

· With three blocks, now has 72 blocks this season, building on his own single-season record For his career, Kravish has 176 blocks, which ranks second in school annals.

Freshman guard Sam Singer

· Dished out a career-high five assists

 

SaberCats suck the Soul out of Philadelphia, 70-33

sabercats

By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar

SAN JOSE, CA–Fresh off their convincing week one win over the newly formed Portland Thunder, the San Jose SaberCats cruised to an easy 70-33 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Soul late Sunday afternoon. In his very first start of his AFL career, Rookie Nathan Stanley impressed the Cats faithful with a spectacular game. Stanley completed 18 of 28, for 249 yards with 6 TDs and zero interceptions. Head coach Darren Arbet had nothing but praise for his QB, saying “this game is made for him right now.”  Stanley admitted to having pre-game jitters in his AFL starting debut, especially since he did not anticipate getting into the game so quickly in the season. After starting QB Russ Michna suffered concussion symptoms after the first game of the season, Stanley was told to be ready, and was given the start.

After giving up an early TD, the SaberCats bounced back to finish the first quarter 14-7. The two traded scores in the second quarter, and ended after the Soul pressured hard and earned a touchdown that carried the game into the half with the home team up by a small margin of 35-27. The rookie QB continued to impress, at the end of the second quarter, Stanley had thrown for four touchdowns, 123 yards and no interceptions. San Jose’s impressive defense gave the rookie the chance he needed to put his team ahead. “It’s really comforting to be able to rely on my defense, especially as a new QB”, Stanley said.

The third and fourth were all Cats. San Jose held the Soul completely scoreless in the third and the majority of the fourth. Newcomer Reggie Gray lit up the score sheet in the second half. After just one 24-yard touchdown in the first half, Gray posted 53 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second. Gray had 46 touchdowns last year with the Chicago Rush, and so far has wasted no time bringing those stats to San Jose. When asked about his home debut with the team, Gray stated “the atmosphere here was amazing. There were a few jitters but it’s special to be a part of such a great team”.

In their season opener last week, Philadelphia’s Derrick Ross instantly made a name for himself in their thrilling overtime loss to the defending AFL champions, Arizona Rattlers. Ross posted an impressive six touchdowns, with 12 carries for 46 yards. In week two, the SaberCats held him to only 34 yards with one touchdown.

With just a minute left in the game, Philadelphia managed to break through the SaberCats’ defense and cut the ever-growing lead down to 70-33.

San Jose heads to Pennsylvania next Saturday, looking to continue their strong start to the season against the Pittsburg Power, who were 4-14 last season.

Toluca ekes by Quakes to CONCACAF semifinals

Photo credit: pbs.twimg.com

By Pearl Allison Lo

Despite San Jose’s valiant effort and an erroneous call that would have given them a 2-1 lead, Toluca won on their sixth penalty kick in the second leg semi at home Wednesday.

Billy Schuler and JJ Koval made their first starts and held their own alongside teammates, in a game where the Quakes began without seven starters. Chris Wondolowski started on the bench with a sore groin.

Wondolowski’s shot bounced off goalie Alfredo Talavera and Alan Gordon scored off the rebound in the second half. However, the ref ruled that he was offsides.

The San Jose defense worked in tandem with goalie Jon Busch, who at times, was able to knock a shot just wide and pushed Juan Manuel Salgueiro’s shot above his head and behind the net. Busch also continued past first half stoppage time in preventing another attempt. At one point, the Quakes defensively stopped two shots by the same player with their bodies

A kick by San Jose’s Shea Salinas connected to Ty Harden’s head, gave Harden his first goal ever in the 56th minute. This first score of the game sparked aggressiveness by Toluca. Busch had to move forward out of the goal to make a save, after which he went down and was grabbing the back of his head. Pablo Velazquez also got a free kick.

Atiba Harris being helped off the field after a challenge, brought in Wondolowski and paused the new fast pace of the game.

In the second half, the Quakes cleared the ball off the goal line twice and both teams had a lot of free kicks at one point.

First, Cordell Cato cleared if off the line, but then the ball went off the chest off Isaac Brizuela, who afterwards kicked it past an approaching Wondo and a diving Busch to tie the game.

Sam Cronin also cleared the ball off the line after Edy Brambila entered the game.

The 9,000 foot elevation game then went into 30 minutes of extra time for the first time ever in CONCACAF knockout stages.

After the offsides call in overtime, Schuler had a shot off the net and Busch stopped another Toluca attempt with one hand.

Busch received a yellow card for time wasting.

The chants of USA could be heard as the teams proceeded to penalty kicks.

They went as follows: TOL – Raul Nava (save), Antonio Rios (goal), Velazquez (goal), Miguel Ponce (goal), Talavera (goal), Wilson Tiago (goal)

SJ – Wondolowski (save), Gordon (goal), Cronin (goal), Schuler (goal), Koval (goal), Shea Salinas (miss).

It was the rookie with Toluca Rios’s first Champions game. Busch got a hand on two balls that went in twice.  Against Ponce who was born in Sacramento, Busch was blowing into his hands after and Tiago’s ball bounced in after a touch by Busch. Salinas went down to one knee after his shot banged off the crossbar.

Game notes: San Jose continues with a game against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Sporting Kansas City Saturday at 5:30pm.

Sabercats Spoil Thunder’s Franchise Debut 64 -34

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 1.05.46 AM

By Kahlil Najar

Portland, Oregon – The San Jose SaberCats (1-0) manhandled the Portland Thunder (0-1) in front of the Thunders first ever home game at the Moda Center and beat them 64-34. The SaberCats offense was powered by Reggie Gray who had an impressive offensive showing as he went for 102 yards and 4 touchdowns on only six catches. SaberCats quarterback Russ Michna went 12 for 16 for 166 yards and five touchdowns and left the game at halftime after he gave the SaberCats a 37-27 lead. Nathan Stanley finished the game at quarterback for San Jose and went eight for 14 for 89 yards with three touchdowns.

Portland started the game strong as they were able to score on their first ever possession when University of Oregon alumni Darron Thomas found his way into the end zone and gave Portland the 7-0 lead. However the SaberCats were able to answer back when Michna found Gray for a 16-yard strike and tie the game up at seven. Then after a defensive stop by the SaberCats, Michna found Rod Harper for an 11-yard reception and gave the SaberCats a 13-7 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second quarter, Michna connected for three touchdowns including two to Gray and one to Jason Willis. Michna also found his second favorite target of the game Harper four times in the second quarter. Harper ended the game with 105  yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns. Portland also scored three times in the quarter including their first ever pass touchdown on a nice play from quarterback Nathan Enderle who found Jeffre Solomon for a 32-yard score but ended with a missed extra point and bring the score to 37-27 at halftime.

After halftime the SaberCats put in Nathan Stanley for last two quarters of the game and he continued the SaberCats dominance as he found Willis, Gray and Harper for scores and didn’t give up an interception. The SaberCats defense also stood strong in the second half as they didn’t allow a single point in the third quarter and only one touchdown in the fourth. Huey Whittaker contributed on defense with nine tackles on defense and veteran Ken Fontenette contributed with six of his own.

“I thought my guys played hard, they came out and did what they had to do,” said Head Coach Darren Arbet. “They took care of business. I liked the way they played.”

The SaberCats are back on the field on March 29 in San Jose when the host the Philadelphia Soul (0-1) at 5:00 pm.