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Santa Cruz’s Clayton Ray commits to University of Nevada, Reno | College baseball

Santa Cruz Sentinel logo Santa Cruz Sentinel 8/10/2022 Jim Seimas

Cabrillo College pitcher Clayton Ray was in the process of making campus visit in Chico when another program, University of Nevada, Reno, got in contact with him and expressed interest in signing the incoming sophomore left-hander.

Ray, who is 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, visited the Wolf Pack’s campus and committed to the NCAA Division I program the same in late July.

“I was shocked,” Ray said of Nevada’s campus and facilities. “I’ve heard about Reno, and I tried to not have any prejudice. The campus was beautiful, and it was quite a beautiful area.”

In addition to the campus and facilities, Ray was impressed with the Wolf Pack’s new and young coaching staff. It includes first-year head coach Jake McKinley, a former standout at Bethany University in Scotts Valley who most recently served as Vice President of Player Development with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization, and pitching coach Mark Moriarty, who spent the past three seasons as a pitching coach in the Minnesota Twins’ organization.

Left-hander Clayton Ray was twice named the SCCAL Pitcher of the Year while shining for Santa Cruz High. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel file) © Provided by Santa Cruz Sentinel Left-hander Clayton Ray was twice named the SCCAL Pitcher of the Year while shining for Santa Cruz High. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel file)

“I want to be around that culture,” Ray said. “I’ve been taking my development at Cabrillo really serious, and now I get to work with some of the best people in the field. They’re all young and motivated to win and make guys better.”

The Wold Pack officially announced the hiring of Moriarty, hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Jordan Getzelman, assistant coach Noah Shackles, and director of player development Ryan Savage on Thursday.

McKinley, who was hired in July, takes over a program that went 29-26 in 2022 and finished second in the Mountain West Conference standings. In ’21, the program reached its first NCAA Regional since 2000.

Ray was the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2018 and ’19. Last season at Cabrillo, he made 16 appearances, including 10 starts. He posted a 5-0 record with a 2.73 ERA, giving up 51 hits and 18 earned runs in 59 1/3 innings. He struck out 43 batters and walked 24.

“Clayton worked real hard for that opportunity,” said Bob Kittle, his coach at Cabrillo. “It’s a great fit. Jake is a great coach and a local guy. Clayton’s hard working, a good teammate and a great competitor.”

Class starts at UNR on Aug. 23. Ray, who has three years of eligibility remaining, plans to major in interdisciplinary studies.

In addition to facing better hitters, Ray is excited to see how his arsenal, a fastball, curve and change-up, plays while pitching in elevation.

Ray will join another Santa Cruz County native on the Wolf Pack’s roster. Soquel alum Nathan Maas (6-1, 180), is a sophomore right-handed pitcher.


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