TERRE HAUTE —
The Terre Haute Rex needed a strong pitching performance from John Robert Patterson and got it. But it was Tyler Wampler’s fly ball to shallow center field that gave the Rex a 3-2 win over the Hannibal Caveman at Bob Warn Field Tuesday night.
With bases loaded in the 10th inning, Wampler’s fly ball fell between the shortstop, center fielder and second baseman to score Owen Conway from third base.
The third straight victory gets the Rex within two games of the Quincy Gems, who lead the West Division of the Prospect League. The Rex travel to Quincy for a doubleheader on today before returning to Bob Warn Field on Thursday.
Six-plus strong innings on the mound by Patterson set up the Rex bullpen for the games at Quincy.
“With the series coming up, especially with Quincy coming up, you don’t want the bullpen to be used a lot,” Patterson said before making his fourth start of the season.
Patterson, a Terre Haute North graduate, welcomed the opportunity to pitch for the Rex and on Bob Warn Field, where he hopes to continue his collegiate career next spring.
“It’s awesome. I’m in my own bed at home. I don’t have to worry about traveling home every night,” Patterson said.
Patterson, who just finished two seasons at Olney Central Junior College, gave the Rex six-plus innings, allowing just three hits and two runs, struck out three and walked on. He was relieved by Josh Dove in the seventh.
“Nothing like playing in front of the Terre Haute crowd I’ve grown up playing in front of my whole life,” Patterson said.
It turned into Terre Haute pitching night for the Rex. After Patterson gave the Rex six-plus innings of three-hit pitching, Dove, a South grad, came on for an inning and Bryan Nacke, another North product, came on in the ninth and got the win, his first of the season.
The Rex took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on singles by Nate Arnold, Wampler and Kyle Kempf.
Patterson kept the ball down and let his defense do the work. In the sixth inning, Hannibal’s J. Golden doubled (he tripled in the first), but was picked off second base of Rex catcher Nate Arnold.
“I have to master my game because I’m not going to light up the radar gun. I got to really work on hitting my spots. The night I don’t hit my spots are the nights the ball are going left and right into the outfield,” Patterson said.
Hannibal tied the game 2-2 in the sixth when Patterson was called for a balk with a runner on third.
The Rex played strong defense all night. Wampler made a diving catch at shortstop in the eighth inning. Third baseman Nick Johnson snagged a line drive and doubled-off a runner at first base in the seventh and Nacke picked off a runner at first, who was thrown out at second.