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June 7, 2011

Outlaws outpace Rex, 7-2

TERRE HAUTE — The days are getting longer as the official start of summer approaches.

Monday’s 7-2 victory for the Nashville Outlaws at Bob Warn Field was a long game for fans of the Terre Haute Rex, who were outhit 14-3.

From the first pitch of the game, when Nashville leadoff man took the first pitch from Cody Wren and yanked it down the right-field line into the trees behind the fence, the Rex were a step slower than the Outlaws.

The Rex lost their fourth straight game after winning last week’s home opener.

The team had returned to Terre Haute at 4 a.m. after a tough 6-5 loss at Hannibal on Sunday.

“The way the loss happened [Sunday], that game was taken from us. There was a couple big time calls against us,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said. “It was hard, a long bus ride home. You have to deal that, it’s going to happen in this game.”

The Rex fell to 1-4 on the season.

“Unfortunately, we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole. We’ve got to fight ourselves out of it. It seemed like it was just one of those nights,” Dorsett said.

While the Rex were sluggish, Nashville arrived ready to swing the bats, whacking Wren from the game in the top of the third after knocking him around for seven hits.

All that before the Rex got one.

The Outlaws picked up their first win of the season. While the late night Sunday played a part, Rex players said the team has just not put any momentum together after the recent losses.

“The past couple games we’ve made a lot of mental mistakes,” center fielder Ronnie Mitchell said. “We’ve had some things not go our way, but we’ve got to clean up the baseball as far as defense and throwing strikes.

“We haven’t put it all together yet. There’s been games where our starting pitching’s been good and the bullpen struggle. Then both will throw well and we don’t hit.  We’ve got to all do it in the same game so we can put up some wins.”

Chris Manning’s booming triple to the left-field wall made it a 4-1 game, but the Rex were retired in order in the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth innings.

Nashville pitchers held the Rex to three hits, with Manning getting two of those.

Coming into the game hitting .385, West Vigo graduate Cameron Fagg went 0 for 3.

“Summer ball’s a grind. A lot of it’s a mental game. You got to have it every day. The bats weren’t hitting the holes like we needed to,” Fagg said.

Fagg didn’t play the spring college season for personal reasons so he’s been pleased with his play. He’s nearing the end of a seven-day contract with the Rex.

“I’m playing better than I thought I would since I took four or five months off,” Fagg said. “I’ve been playing ball for about 15 years so it just comes easy. Just hanging in there. I’d love to stay.”

• Hancock a big draft prospect — Rex right-handed pitcher Justin Hancock, who starred at Lincoln Trail College the past two seasons, could be drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft today.

Hancock is signed to play at Indiana State next season, but he may never suit up for the Sycamores. He has yet to pitch for the Rex, waiting to see how early he goes in the draft.

ISU pitching coach Tyler Herbst said he pitches in the low 90s, touching 95 miles-per-hour at a recent workout.

“He’s got a plus fastball. He should get a chance to pitch at the next level. We hope to get him here next season,” Herbst said. “He’s one of the best arms in the Midwest.”

ISU ace Collin Rea is also expected to be taken today.

n Help on the way — Terre Haute native Jacob Hayes, former Terre Haute North standout Joe Meggs and Robinson, Ill., product Derek Hannahs are expected to join the Rex as soon as Friday.

Hayes and Hannahs are freshmen at Ohio State, and Meggs led the Washington Huskies with a .323 batting average this spring.

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