Midway through his final class of the day, Carl Jameson knew he was in trouble.
The Merced College sophomore pitcher realized he hadn't heard a word said by the instructor, his mind on his start against Cosumnes River on Friday afternoon.
It was a little too focused as far as Jameson was concerned.
"It was really hard fighting back the excitement of opening day," Jameson said. "I went into the locker room and read a chapter in 'The Mental ABC's of Pitching.' It was the chapter on not being afraid to fail. It just cleared my mind."
The book had the calming affect Jameson was hoping for as he went out and tossed five shutout innings of two-hit baseball against the defending state champs.
Jameson combined with Ryan McDaniel for a three-hit shutout and the Nate Devine coaching era got off to a victorious start with a 2-0 victory at Blue Devil Field.
"It wasn't the smoothest night of pitching, but I think the theme was the guys really went out and battled," Devine said. "I think that it all goes back to having veteran guys out there on the mound.
"They know how to work themselves out of jams. And it wasn't just the pitchers. The guys made some plays on defense for them tonight."
Things started ideally for the Blue Devils with Jameson allowing just one hit and retiring the side in order through the first two innings.
The MC offense was able to give him some early run support, punching across single runs in the first and second innings.
Cody Simar drove in Shota Nagatomi for the game's first run when he was beaned with the bases loaded in the first inning.
Nagatomi made it 2-0 with a two-out, two-strike, opposite-field, run-scoring single in the second.
Hawks starting pitcher Blake Harrison settled down after that and the Blue Devil chances to expand the lead became few and far between.
After two quick outs in the fifth, Cosumnes finally got something going against Jameson with a walk and flare single.
Malik Hill thought he'd gotten CRC on the board when he laced a ball to right, but Simar leapt at first base and somehow snagged the line drive.
Great as the grab was, the game's biggest defensive gem came in the next inning from center fielder Nick Mello.
A slightly overexcited McDaniel worked himself into a bases-loaded jam with a walk, an error and a bunt single to open the sixth inning.
The sophomore relief pitcher responded by forcing a fielder's choice and throwing a strikeout.
He then got John Casio to float a fly ball to center. Mello got an early jump on the play and snagged the ball with a sliding, head-first catch to end the inning and save at least two runs.
"I don't know how many times I've created trouble for myself like that," McDaniel said. "It just seems like sometimes I need that first out to settle down.
"I fought back and made some pitches and Mello probably saved the game. If he misses that ball, at least two runs score and they probably have the winning runs on second and third. It was huge."
The Hawks went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and didn't get a hit off of McDaniel the rest of the way.
It wasn't all good news for MC on Friday as freshman outfielder Josh Miguel suffered a serious-looking leg injury after colliding at first base while trying to beat out a bunt attempt.
"That's a big blow, because he was starting to play some really good baseball and is someone that can make things happen with his feet," Devine said. "We're going to have to regroup and keep finding ways to get better."