An early lead wasn’t enough for the Owensboro RiverDawgs, as they eventually fell 10-4 to the Fulton Railroaders at Chautauqua Park on Wednesday night.
It’s the third loss in a row for Owensboro (5-4), who is still trying to iron out all the kinks early in the season. After taking a three-run lead through two innings, the RiverDawgs had trouble keeping Fulton (6-4) off the bases.
The Railroaders finally struck big with four runs in the fifth inning for a 6-4 lead, and they added a handful of insurance runs in the final frames. Owensboro plated two runs each in the first and second innings but couldn’t get much going offensively the rest of the night.
“We got off to a good start, but we had the one bad inning,” said Owensboro manager Vic Evans. “Right now in this little three-game stretch, we’re not doing some of the little things. We’re walking too many guys and putting ourselves in a tough position.”
Evans said once his team fell behind, they got away from their normal routine on offense.
“Early in the game we had really good approaches,” he said. “When they got the big inning and took the lead 6-4, I thought for the first time all year we got out of that approach. We got a little anxious and chased some pitches we haven’t normally been chasing.”
The Railroaders loaded the bases with no outs to set up their four-run fifth inning. An outfield error allowed the first runner to score, and a two-RBI single put Fulton in front 5-4. They added one more on a double-play before a lineout finally ended their half of the inning.
“You’re going to give up some hits,” Evans said. “The key is to give up a single or double with nobody on base. You can’t walk two and then give up a base hit. That’s kind of what we’ve done. And we need to tighten up a little defensively.”
Fulton added three more insurance runs in the eight inning with a two-out rally. A double to the left corner allowed a runner to score from first, and a hit to right field drove in two more a few batters later.
All of Owensboro’s runs came early in the game after giving up a run to Fulton in the top of the first inning. The RiverDawgs responded with two runs each in the first and second frames.
Kyle Hogwood (Forney, Texas native) drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first and stole his way to third before scoring on a groundout by Kirk Liebert (Owensboro). Ian Ellis (Jeffersonville, Ind.) later reached on a two-out single and eventually scored on a hit by Michael Wymann (Greenwood, Ind.).
In the second inning, Jacob Hartline (Herrin, Ill.) and Tanner Singleton (Hawesville) led off with a pair of walks and later scored on a single by Liebert for a 4-1 lead.
Fulton added a run in the fourth before going back in front with their four-run fifth inning. They also scored once in the ninth inning.
Hogwood finished with four stolen bases to go along with a hit, a run and three walks. Wymann went 2-for-4 and drove in a run, while Liebert finished with three RBIs.
Starting pitcher Blaine Gillim (Hartford) went 3.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts and four walks. Caleb Dubois (Sour Lake, Texas) took the loss, lasting 1.0 inning and allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits with a pair of walks.
“It’s such a long grind, you’re going to have stretches like this,” Evans said. “The big key is we have to stay together as a team and fight our way out of it.”
Evans said he’s still got plenty of confidence his guys will bounce back and find their groove.
“I won’t trade my team for anybody’s right now,” he said. “I still like my guys. We’ll get out of it. We’ll find a way.”
WP: Weber. LP: Dubois. 2B: Wooton 2, Lott, McKenzie (F), White (O).