Hot Hoots Hand Catfish Fifth Straight Loss
Cape Girardeau, MO, June 21 – Baseball is a game of inches and in their game Tuesday night against the O’Fallon Hoots, the Catfish came up a few inches short on the base paths and one run shy on the scoreboard, losing to O’Fallon 8-7.
It was the fifth straight loss for the ‘Fish (7-12) and the seventh consecutive win for the Hoots (12-8).
Catfish starter Jordan Zuger (Belmont University) got off to a strong start, striking out four Hoots in the first two innings. But he gave up three runs in the third and two more in the fourth before being relieved by Perryville native Eli Brown (Lindenwood University) who surrendered two more runs in his 2 2/3 innings of relief.
The Hoots scored their eighth run in the seventh, a run that proved to be difference in the game.
Cape plated three runs in the third on a two-RBI double by Jackson’s Lane Crowden (Three Rivers Community College) that drove in a pair of teammates at Florida State College at Jacksonville – Jayme Villafame and Chris Hall – who had singled and walked, respectively, prior to Crowden’s double. Crowden then scored on an RBI single by Ty Stauss (Southeast Missouri State University)
The Catfish wouldn’t score again until the seventh when Stauss knocked a three-run homer over the right-field wall, scoring Crowden and Hall ahead of him. Cape picked up a solo run in the eighth inning on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Dalton Rudd (Western Kentucky University) that drove in Cam Careswell (University of Missouri), cutting the O’Fallon lead to 8-7.
Cape might have scored more in the eighth had Southeast Missouri State’s Danny Sperling, who had singled to lead off the frame, not been caught stealing on a very close play at second base.
With two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Hoots intentionally walked Strauss before striking out Kolten Poorman (Three Rivers) to end the game.
“It was a tough loss. We got down but we fought back and made it close,” said Catfish field manager Stephen Larkin. “We made a couple base running errors, but we played a good team and it was a good fight.”
Zuger took the loss and is now 0-4 while Hoots starter Ben Plumley (University of Illinois) was the winner, allowing three hits and three earned runs while striking out three in his five innings of work to improve his record to 2-0. Nick Schmidt (Maryville University) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Hoots to earn his first save of the season.
The Hoots are now a half-game behind the first-place Alton River Dragons in the Prospect League’s Prairie Land Division while the Catfish have now dropped eight of their last 10 games and are five games under the .500 mark and are in fourth place in the division behind Alton, O’Fallon and the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes.
The Catfish are 2-3 in their five games against the Hoots this season and will play them again Wednesday in O’Fallon. Game time is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.