TERRE HAUTE —
The pitching and the timely hitting were obvious Monday night, but manager Brian Dorsett made sure to add praise for his team’s defense after the Terre Haute Rex completed a sweep of the Prospect League-leading Quincy Gems by an 8-1 score at Bob Warn Field.
Jacob Hayes and Cameron Fagg didn’t have a hit between them — although Hayes did start one rally by drawing a two-out walk — but they combined for 18 fielding chances and helped the Rex turn three double plays.
With their help, starting pitcher Chris Nunn kept the game under control until his hitters came to life in the last three innings.
“It was big to see our starting pitcher come back,” Dorsett said after the game. “[Nunn] got himself out of some tight spots and threw the ball really well … and just great defense. What did we have, six or seven double plays? When you can turn double plays like that, it helps a lot.”
The Rex never trailed after putting together a two-out first-inning rally that included an infield hit by Joe Meggs, a walk to Koby Kraemer and an RBI single by John Loeffler.
But Quincy tied the score in the fourth on the only double-play attempt the Rex couldn’t turn — a run-scoring fielder’s choice after a double by Bryan Lippincott, a fly to right and a hit batter put runners on first and third — and threatened in the fifth when Nunn walked leadoff batter D.W. Warner, the Gems’ No. 9 hitter.
A Fagg-to-Hayes-to-Loeffler double play wiped that out immediately, however, and the infield had two more big plays in the sixth.
Lippincott got a bloop single with one out and stole second. He was running as Derek Mattea got an infield hit in the hole between short and third, but overran the bag and was thrown out on an alert play by Hayes. A single by Andrew Host put two runners on, but Fagg made a backhand stop of a wicked smash by Hecht look easy, tossing to Hayes for the inning-ending force out.
Then it was time for the offense to take over. With one out in the bottom of the sixth Kraemer launched a tie-breaking homer into the trees beyond the left-field fence, and the Rex put three-run innings together in each of their last two at-bats.
“Good timely hitting,” Dorsett noted. “Koby got that big homer, and homers do a lot for your confidence in this league … it all worked out.”
Hayes drew his two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, stole second and got to third on a passed ball. Lucas Hileman also walked and stole second himself to put two runners in scoring position.
Ronnie Mitchell — who, Dorsett indicated later, has been hitting in hard luck this summer and who had two hard outs earlier in the game — worked the count full, then jerked a line drive down the right-field line foul. On the next pitch, however, he lined a single to center for two RBIs, taking second on the throw to the plate, and scored from there on a hit by Meggs.
Not a bad series for Mitchell, who was the winning pitcher in relief in the Rex’s 3-2 win over the Gems a night earlier.
“That [sweep] was big,” he said after the game. “The fact we made up some room on [the Gems, who now lead the Rex by three games in the Western Division race] is crucial.”
As far as his big hit was concerned, Mitchell added, “I’m seeing the ball well, and I’m starting to keep my weight back. This was a big confidence-builder. I hope I can do more of that in the future.”
“That was big for Ronnie,” Dorsett agreed. “He’s been throwing the ball well [even though he’s not listed as a pitcher on the roster], and he backed it up today with a big hit … he only got one hit, but it was a big hit.”
Nunn walked a batter with one out in the top of the eighth, but Chris Bossenbery came in from the bullpen and got five outs while facing just four batters — starting a double play himself on the only batter he had to face in the eighth. An RBI single by Brett Teschner and a two-run single by Hileman padded the lead even more in the bottom of the inning.
The Rex have road games at Danville today and at Springfield on Thursday before returning home for a Friday game against Chillicothe.
TH Rex 8, Quincy Gems 1
Quincy ab r h bi Rex ab r h bi
Lewis cf 3 0 0 0 Hileman rf 4 1 2 2
Pace 3b 4 0 0 0 RMitchell cf 5 1 1 2
Serritella 1b 3 0 0 0 Meggs lf-1b 3 1 2 1
Lippincott dh 2 1 2 0 Kraemer 3b 3 1 1 1
Mattea lf 4 0 1 0 Loeffler 1b 4 0 3 1
Host rf 3 0 2 0 Manning pr-lf 0 1 0 0
Hecht ss 3 0 0 1 Roglen dh 3 1 0 0
Whitty c 3 0 1 0 Teschner c 4 1 1 1
Baer ph 1 0 0 0 Fagg 2b 4 0 0 0
Warner 2b 2 0 0 0 Hayes ss 2 1 0 0
Totals 28 1 6 1 Totals 32 8 10 8
Quincy Gems 000 100 000 — 1
Terre Haute Rex 100 001 33x — 8
DP — Rex 3. LOB — Gems 7, Rex 6. 2B — Lippincott (4), Hileman (1). HR — Kraemer (3). SB — Hecht (4), Lippincott (4), Lewis 2 (10), Hayes (1), Hileman (2). CS — Hecht (2), Roglen (2).
IP H R ER BB SO
Robson (L, 1-2) 6 5 2 2 2 5
Lehman 2/3 1 3 3 2 0
Howell 2/3 2 2 2 1 0
Treece 2/3 2 1 1 0 1
Terre Haute Rex
Dunn (W, 2-1) 7 1/3 5 1 1 4 5
Bossenbery 1 2/3 1 0 0 0 0
HBP — by Dunn (Hecht), by Dunn (Host, by Dunn (Lewis), by Treece (Hayes). PB — Whitty. T — 2:24.
Next — The Terre Haute Rex (13-11) play tonight at Danville. Quincy (15-6) has a home doubleheader today against Springfield.