Host’s relievers retire last 10 Chillicothe batters, preserve 1-run win MINK League college-level, wood-bat baseball victory Wednesday night

NEVADA, Mo. — A night their relievers retired the last 14 Chillicothe (Mo.) Mudcats batters to keep alive hope of a late comeback in a 10-7 loss, three Nevada Griffons bullpenners set down all nine batters they faced in a mere 24 composite pitches Wednesday,(June 28 2017) preserving a 6-5 Griffons victory.
After falling behind 6-1 after four innings, the Mudcats (13-10, 9-10 MINK) took advantage of faulty Nevada fielding and baserunning to close to within 6-5 after six.
However, even though the two relievers they themselves used blanked the Griffons from the sixth through the eighth to keep things tight, the Fish could not get back to level ground in the MINK League college-level, wood-bat baseball game.
With each Chillicothe batter representing the tying run, Riley Ulery of Nevada needed only nine pitches to navigate a 1-2-3 seventh, Kory Vaught used only seven to get the side in order in the eighth, and David Ruot got the save with a flawless ninth, throwing only eight pitches.
Their work allowed lefthanded starter Jake Fraze to get the win with six innings of work. He was racked for 11 hits and there were three errors by his team, but he did not walk anyone.
When he struck out the last batter he faced, leaving a runner at first base after the Mudcats had plated two runs in the sixth, no one expected they had seen the last Chillicothean on base, but that’s what transpired.
Nevada’s steady drumbeat of scoring in the first four innings was enough to hang  a loss on Chillicothe starting pitcher Matt Herman (1-2), even though the lefthander probably had his best outing thus far – especially from a control standpoint.
Herman yielded eight hits in five innings and gave out only one base on balls after entering the game with a team-high 15 freebies in only 14 innings. He hit one batter.
Despite that, Nevada generated six runs – one unearned – before he retired the side in order in the fifth.
A first-inning-starting error by usually-sure-handed third baseman Kenny Jarema was cashed in with a 2-outs RBI single for a 1-0 lead. The second saw a leadoff walk and stolen base converted into a run by two groundouts.
Three consecutive Griffons doubles to begin the third boosted their lead to 4-1, but tentative baserunning allowed Herman to slip further punches, stranding men at second and third.
In the fourth, a single, the hit batsman and back-to-back doubles somehow only added two runs to Nevada’s total.
On the second double, a runner at second somehow ended up hung up between third and home and was tagged out, although not before the batter-runner made his way into third.
That man then failed to score on a bouncer over Herman’s head that deflected off second baseman Josh Urps’ glove in front of second base right to shortstop Ramger Iglesias just behind the base. Not only didn’t the runner at third score, but Iglesias had time to throw the batter out at first, allowing a fly out by the next hitter to end the inning.
Chillicothe, which had tallied once in the third on Kody Gardner’s 2-outs single that plated Jarema, used the Nevada baserunning blunder and then two defensive to get closer.
Devonte Washington’s 1-out, ground-rule double near the left-field corner would have gone for nought, except for a dropped foul popup near home plate that extended Iglesias’ 2-outs at-bat. Reprieved, Iglesias singled Washington to third.
Lefty-swinger Gardner’s hard-hit grounder then got between the first baseman holding Iglesias on and the bag, plating the second Mudcats run while Iglesias took third and Gardner stayed at first.
A bouncer over the pitcher’s head then was fielded on the run by the Griffons shortstop, but his throw to first was high and to the fence in foul territory. That let Iglesias come across, but, in a bad break, the throw was so wild, it took a hard bounce off the foul fence right back to the first baseman, who was able to throw Gardner out trying to go to third.
Undeterred by that misfortune, Chillicothe’s hitters got right back at it against Fraze in the sixth.
Justin Blasinski blistered a line drive back over the ducking Nevada hurler’s back and into center field to start the visitors’ sixth and the ball had so much velocity on it that, when the center fielder let it roll under his glove in medium-shallow center, it rolled almost to the warning track. That allowed the Mudcat to dash all the way to third.
He was still bedded down there, though, when, with two away, Josh Urps lined a RBI hit over the shortstop’s head, a ball whose speed the center fielder badly misjudged, letting it bounce all the way to the fence in left-center. That gave Urps third and the Mudcats a chance to get within a run with another hit.
They got it from Washington, whose second hit of the game was a liner between the left fielder and the line that cut the Griffons’ lead to 6-5.
Washington was at first when Fraze froze Jarema with an outside-edge slider for strike three, not only ending the inning, but ending the Mudcats having anyone on base for the night.
Statistically, Gardner continued to torment Nevada at bat. Going two for four with two runs batted in, the Sacramento State University outfielder pushed his season performance in five contests against the Griffons to seven for 14 with two doubles, a triple, four runs scored, and three driven in.
Washington and Iglesias joined him in having 2-hits games Wednesday. Red-hot L.J. Hatch, Kainalu Pitoy, and Rafael Villela Jr. did likewise for Nevada. Both of Pitoy’s and Hatch’s hits were double and Pitoy drove in two runs.
For Chillicothe, righthanders Tyler Clark and Jerald Johnston had some challenges, but kept Nevada only a run ahead with their relief work.
For Clark, it was his first app-earance of the summer as he works his way back from a shoulder injury during his college season at Pittsburg State (Kan.) University. He threw the sixth, allowing a single – after an uncaught-foul-popup error – and a walk before getting the second out on strikes and the third on an easy fly ball to center.
Wednesday’s Chillicothe defeat was its first in five games this season against MINK League South Division foe Nevada (10-15, 10-13 MINK).
The clubs will close their regular-season slate against each other Thursday night at 7 at Nevada’s Lyons Field.
The clubs will close their regular-season slate against each other Thursday night at 7 at Nevada’s Lyons Field.
Chillicothe’s expected starting pitcher is righthaner Blake Collister (0-0), the North Central Missouri College (Trenton) hurler from Keytesville who’ll make his second start, his first against a league opponent.