News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

July 5, 2014

Rex roll to sixth straight victory Saturday

ORLANDO, FLA. — When the Terre Haute Rex get five runs in a game? Bank on a victory. Often times, they get far more than that.

So it was again on Saturday. A four-run fourth inning helped the Rex defeat Hannibal 8-2 in front of 1,028 fans at Bob Warn Field.

It was Terre Haute’s sixth straight victory as it remained unbeaten in the second half of the Prospect League baseball season.

The Rex offense didn’t explode in the manner it did in its two previous games against Springfield when it averaged 161⁄2 runs against the Sliders, but the big hits were still there.

The biggest ones were provided by Tony Rosselli.

With the Rex down 2-1 entering the bottom of the fourth, Zach Welz was hit by a pitch and Tyler Lawrence singled to put two on with one out for Rosselli. He smacked a James Ball offering deep to center field. The home run, which cleared the trees just to the left of the 396-mark in left-center, put the Rex in front 4-2.

Terre Haute scored an additional run in the fourth on a single by catcher Ty Hogan.

Rosselli did it again in the eighth inning. With Lawrence on, Rosselli pulled a towering home run to left field. It also cleared the trees and gave the Rex insurance runs and a 7-2 lead.

Two at-bats later, Ryan Sabo got into the act with a solo home run to left.

Rosselli, a Terre Haute native and outfielder for Indiana State, has hit a home run in three of his last five games and has a Prospect League-leading six overall. He has a five-game hit streak and his batting average is hovering around the .250 mark after it had bottomed out at .207 in mid-June.

“The team makes it easy for me to go up there and be relaxed. We’re getting so many runs. You can feel free and natural up there and it helps your confidence,” Rosselli said. “I’m also sitting on pitches I know I can handle. I’m reacting to the off-speed or the fastball in.”

Perhaps lost in the shuffle in Terre Haute’s offensive might has been its pitching. In its six-game win streak, the Rex have conceded five or more runs just once.

Terre Haute pitcher Reagan Biechler made sure it stayed that way. The left-hander was steady as he had just two strikeouts, but only allowed three runners to reach third base, all of whom did it in Hannibal’s two-run fourth.

Brad Lombard, an Indiana State starting pitcher and one of three Sycamores to play in the contest, came on in relief and pitched two scoreless innings.

“The quality starts are something we’ve talked about since the beginning of the season. We’ve done a great job of getting in the strike zone,” said Rex manager Bobby Segal, who noted that the benefit goes beyond the mound. “Our offense gets excited about it too. They’re going up there trying to extend leads, not playing a teeter-totter game.”

The two-half format gave Terre Haute a much-needed tonic after it fell short against Danville in the first half. It’s a sort of reset button to the season and the Rex have taken advantage.

“I think it allows us to settle down. We’re playing every day like it’s zero-zero. That’s what [Segal] has told us,” Rosselli said.

The Rex continue their homestand with a 5:30 p.m. game against Hannibal today. The Rex then host the Prospect League All-Star Game on Tuesday. The home-run derby is at 5 p.m. and the game begins at 7 p.m.

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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza 55 on the stop: Indiana State's Connor Underwood tackles North Dakota State's Sam Ojuri during the Sycamores' loss to the Bison on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

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