Now that was a quality start

The Boise Hawks’ Opening Night starter, Javier Palacios, went seven impressive innings last night. I asked Boise Hawks pitching coach Doug Jones on Idaho SportsTalk last Friday if—as is typical in the early-going of short-season Class A baseball—his starting pitchers would be on strict pitch counts and/or inning allotments. Jones, the former big league closer, said something to the effect of “probably.” Well, the Hawks’ Opening Night starter, Javier Palacios, went seven impressive innings last night, allowing just one run on four hits and earning the victory as Boise began its Colorado Rockies era with a 3-1 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils. Not bad for a guy who posted a 6.21 ERA last year for Grand Junction in the Pioneer League. The bullpen effectively closed the door, too, as John Sheehan tossed a perfect eighth and Cristian Quintin notched the save with a scoreless ninth.

The Hawks manufactured just enough offense to open the season in the win column. In the fifth, Richard Prigatano singled in Terry McClure with the first run. Then McClure hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Hamlet Marte in the seventh, and Max George scored on a passed ball in the eighth. On the Tri-City side, Rocky Mountain High grad Mason Smith went 0-for-3 in his Northwest League debut. A crowd of 3,427, about 70 of them rooting for Smith, enjoyed textbook Memorial Stadium weather, with the temperature 92 degrees at first-pitch.

Boise State linebacker Joe Martarano, also a Chicago Cubs minor leaguer, was not on the Opening Night roster of the Eugene Emeralds. It was hoped a year ago that Martarano would be promoted to the Hawks from the Cubs’ entry in the Arizona Rookie League before returning to the Broncos for fall camp, but it didn’t happen (he went 2-for-13 in Arizona). Now the Cubs are affiliated with Eugene, and the Emeralds are skippered by last year’s Hawks manager, Gary Van Tol. As a Boise resident (and the husband of Christina Van Tol, Boise State’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations), he knows what Martarano’s all about. Hopefully time doesn’t run out on the pride of Fruitland before football comes calling again. Martarano did play for Eugene a couple times in intrasquad games against the Mesa Cubs the past week.

BroncoCountry.com reports that former Rocky Mountain High multi-sport star Jake Knight is forsaking his track and field career at Auburn to play football at Boise State. Knight, a linebacker during most of his career at Rocky, played one season at tight end. And after averaging nearly 20 yards a catch on 27 receptions and scoring eight touchdowns, he earned a scholarship offer from Oregon State. Before playing any football for the Beavers, Knight decided to follow the lure of the shot put and transferred to Auburn, for which he finished 13th in the shot at the SEC Indoor Championships. Football wins out, though, and Knight is transferring to Boise State. He’ll sit out the 2015 season—then he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining for the Broncos.

Sometimes Bronco Nation can turn a deaf ear to recruiting successes from conference rivals. But Colorado State deserves from props for the 2016 class it’s putting together under new coach Mike Bobo. The Rams received a commitment Wednesday from Merced College cornerback Devron Davis, who also had offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, West Virginia, Louisville, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Utah and Washington State. Davis, bigger than your usual Mountain West corner at 6-0, 205 pounds, is CSU’s seventh commitment. Five of the verbals have come in the past nine days.

Colorado State also released new information on its new football stadium yesterday. Site work started last month for the $220 million facility, which will hold about 1,000 more fans than previously thought. The on-campus stadium will have approximately 36,000 seats, and its capacity will be 41,000 with standing-room-only spots. It will now cover 17.56 acres and is slated to open in time for the 2017 season.

Boise State has to be the envy of Hawaii right now—the University of Hawaii, anyway. This time it’s not because of football dominance, but because of the Broncos’ ability to create another little revenue stream. The State Board of Education has approved Boise State’s plan for alcohol sales in a pregame party zone in the Caven-Williams Sports Complex. It’s frustrating for the Warriors’ brass, because they pay for the use of Aloha Stadium and get nothing out of parking or concessions at the facility. That’s a huge chunk of change for a financially-strapped athletic program that operates at a deficit of about $3 million a year and has to subsidize the travel of Mountain West football opponents to the islands.

Nevada is trying to determine the definition of “volunteer.” David Carter, who was fired as Wolf Pack men’s basketball coach three months ago after a 9-22 season, has been hired as a volunteer assistant at Saint Mary’s, his alma mater. Carter is owed a total of $600,000 on the final two years of his Nevada contract, but the university is off the hook if he “gains employment.” Carter’s people say his new volunteer position doesn’t constitute “employment.” Nevada’s people may disagree.

The Golden State Warriors’ championship parade rolls through Oakland this morning, and former Idaho Stampede star Justin Holiday is among those celebrating. Holiday played a tiny role in the postseason for the Warriors, but he still gets a ring. He got into one game in the NBA Finals, playing two minutes at the end of the Warriors’ 103-82 blowout victory last Thursday night and recording no stats. Holiday appeared in 59 games during the regular season, scoring 4.3 points. The former Washington Husky led all Stampede regulars with 17.3 points per game two seasons ago.

This Day In Sports…June 19, 1966:

Arnold Palmer blows a seven-shot lead with nine holes to play in the US Open. Arnie then lost to Billy Casper in an 18-hole playoff for the title at the Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco. That left—and still leaves—the 1960 US Open as the only one in which Palmer was victorious. He won the Masters four times, the PGA Championship three times, and the British Open twice during a professional career that lasted 51 years.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)