TERRE HAUTE —
After the Terre Haute Rex struggled at the plate in their inaugural game against Springfield on Thursday, many of the Rex players said they were having trouble adjusting to wooden bats after using aluminum during their collegiate seasons.
After Friday’s 10-3 victory over the Nashville Outlaws, its clear the Rex are picking up their new trade in double-quick time.
The Rex scored in four consecutive innings to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win their first game in franchise history.
“It really is nice for us to get that W. We don’t want to look back, we want to move on and just be thankful for this victory and the product we’re putting out on the field,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said.
Four Rex batters had multiple-hit games in front of 778 fans at Bob Warn Field. Alex DeLeon and Jase Morgan were each 2-for-4, Morgan also had a two-hit game in the Rex opener. DeLeon had a triple and the first-ever Rex home run out of the No. 8 spot.
“I think we’re a fastball hitting team. Our team was hitting it well tonight. We were getting geared up earlier [in the count] and not a lot of us were missing those pitches,” DeLeon said.
Koby Kraemer and Derick Daniel were also 2-for-3 for the Rex.
Lost in the Rex hitting was a solid performance from Terre Haute starter Clayton Hicks and three Rex relievers. Hicks earned the first victory in franchise history. He allowed three hits, three earned runs and struck out five in six innings of work.
Relievers Alex Sachs, Austin Haynal and Tyler Browning did not allow a hit in three innings of shutout relief pitching.
The game didn’t start well for Terre Haute. In the third, Hicks (1-0) hit leadoff runner Jarred Fancher, who advanced to third on a stolen base and error. Billy Rumpke III knocked Fancher in with a single. Subsequent singles by Andrew Brouillette and Ryan McCauley made it 3-0.
The Rex struck back in the fourth in a big way. Terre Haute started the inning with five base hits in succession. Jake Wood and DeLeon each had RBI triples to go with run-scoring singles by Kraemer and Daniel to put Terre Haute in front 4-3.
“What was really special about tonight is we were down 3-0 and we came back with a big inning. We’re getting a little better with what to do with the wooden bat. We can pick our pitches and get something to drive and not be so anxious,” Dorsett said.
Once the Rex started getting baserunners, they didn’t stop. The Rex got two unearned runs in the fifth, thanks to a bases-loaded error by Nashville right fielder Ryan Emery. In the sixth, a two-run double by Morgan and a sacrifice fly by Wood made it 9-3.
DeLeon tacked on the final run with a no-out home run to left in the seventh.
With the first victory of the season, and of the franchise, out of the way, the Rex could take a breath and not let getting that first win become too much of a focus in the early part of their schedule.
“It definitely takes the pressure off. We play to win and have fun. We’re not too worried about winning and losing, we’re just out there to play ball,” DeLeon said.
The Rex (1-1) end a three-game homestand at 7 p.m. tonight with a rematch against the Outlaws. The Rex play their first road game at Springfield on Sunday.