Sacramento River Cats Fall to Salt Lake Bees 5-2

Five run deficit too much for Sacramento, but new River Cats shine

SALT LAKE CITY, UTSacramento River Cats baseball kicked off the 2016 season in Salt Lake against the Bees at Smith’s Ballpark Thursday night. 2015 Pacific Coast League innings-pitched leader Ty Blach got the nod for the season opener, but an early deficit was too much for the offense to come back from as the River Cats fell to the Bees 5-2.

Sacramento fell behind early as Salt Lake jumped out to a 5-0 lead through five innings. Blach (0-1, 7.94) struggled with his command in his first start of 2016, walking three batters and giving up five runs – all earned – on seven hits in five and a third innings of work. In total, he threw 47 of his 82 pitches for strikes. In 2015, Blach averaged 66% strikes over the course of the season and didn’t walk a batter until his fifth start (26 and two thirds innings pitched).

On the other side of the ball, the River Cats offense struggled to get anything going against Bees starter Nate Smith (1-0, 1.59), who struck out five and allowed just two hits in five innings. Sacramento eventually got to Smith in the sixth, scoring two runs on a Conor Gillaspie single and another on a Salt Lake error, but were unable to extend the inning around a double play and a lineout. The Bees committed two errors on the night, but managed to limit the damage to just the two runs (one earned).

Those runs would be the last of the game, as both bullpens allowed just three total hits in five and two thirds combined innings. Vin Mazzaro and Philip McCormick were excellent in their River Cats debuts, posting two and a third scoreless innings. Also shining in their first game with Sacramento were second baseman Ramiro Pena (1-for-3, 2B), Gillaspie (1-for-4, RBI), and Hak-Ju Lee, who recorded five putouts at shortstop and scored a run.

The River Cats will return home to Raley Field on Friday, April 15, when they host the Salt Lake Bees. The two teams will face each other 12 times in their first 24 games this season, including the next three nights. Sacramento will take the field behind 2015 PCL ERA champ Clayton Blackburn (0-0, No ERA). Opposite Blackburn will be the Bees right-hander Yunesky Maya (0-0, No ERA). First pitch is set for 5:35 p.m. and the game can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign S Reggie Nelson

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent S Reggie Nelson, the club announced Thursday.

Nelson has spent the last six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals after beginning his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-09. He has played in 138 games with 125 starts over his nine-year career, totaling 683 tackles (467 solo), 30 interceptions, 80 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 6.5 sacks. In seven postseason appearances, all starts, Nelson has registered 38 tackles (33 solo), two sacks and one fumble recovery.

In 2015, Nelson tied for the league lead and set a career high with eight interceptions en route to earning his first Pro Bowl selection. He recorded an interception in five straight games and finished the season with 72 tackles (50), 14 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder originally entered the league as a first-round pick (21st overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 NFL Draft. Nelson has posted multiple interceptions in eight of his nine seasons, and has also started 47 consecutive games (including postseason) over the last three years.

The Melbourne, Fla., native started 18 of his 25 games over two seasons at Florida from 2005-06. As a senior in 2006, Nelson posted six interceptions to help lead the Gators to a BCS National Championship, earning a first-team All-American selection and the Jack Tatum Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign LS Andrew East

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LS Andrew East, the club announced Tuesday.

East, a first-year player, originally signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in May 2015 and spent training camp with Kansas City. Following the conclusion of the 2015 season, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a reserve/future free agent in February of this year before being waived in March.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder snapped in all 51 games of his collegiate career at Vanderbilt and recorded 13 special teams tackles. As a senior, he was named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors a superior combination of athletics, academics and commercial service.

A native of Indianapolis, Ind., East was a team captain and three-year starter on defense and special teams at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Re-Sign LB Aldon Smith

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have re-signed LB Aldon Smith, the club announced Monday.

In five NFL seasons, one with the Raiders and four with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith has played in 59 games with 37 starts and totaled 221 tackles (158 solo), 47.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and eight passes defensed. He has also posted 5.5 sacks in eight career playoff games.

Last season, the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder played in nine games for Oakland and posted 29 tackles (17 solo), 3.5 sacks and three passes defensed.

The 49ers’ first-round draft pick (seventh overall) in 2011, Smith was the runner-up in the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after recording 14 sacks in his first season. In 2012, Smith was named to the Pro Bowl and selected for first-team All Pro honors after posting 19.5 sacks and his first career interception.

A native of Raytown, Mo., Smith played in 23 games with 21 starts over two seasons at Missouri where he totaled 112 tackles, 17 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and seven passes defensed and earned a first-team All-Big 12 selection as a senior.

Smith is currently suspended for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances and Abuse.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations