Late lapses doom Griffons, streak snapped at four
Fielding woes proved costly as the Nevada Griffons fell to the Jefferson City Renegades 4-3 in a Friday night MINK League road contest.
The loss snapped the Griffons four-game win streak, as their record moves to 4-11 overall and 4-9 in MINK League-play, while the Renegades improve to 8-6 in league-play.
With the game scoreless entering the eighth inning, the Griffons broke out offensively, plating three runs.
Renegades starter and Cuba, Missouri native Taylor Thompson, cruised through the first seven inning, allowing just two hits before encountering trouble in the top of the eighth.
Devin Morrill led off the frame with a single, with Kainalu Pitoy, who has been red-hot at the plate collecting a one-out base hit off Thompson.
Thompson then issued consecutive free passes to Noah Menchaca and Ben Bayless, bringing Morrill in to score as the Griffons went on top 1-0.
Thompson was then replaced on the mound by the 6-foot-9, 270 pound Jacob Voss. With the bases loaded, Nick Kreutzer’s sacrifice fly scored Pitoy from third.
T.J. Martin padded the Griffons lead, as his RBI single to center handed Nevada a 3-0 advantage. Voss escaped the inning without any further damage, striking out Oscar Larranaga to conclude the frame.
Griffons starter Jake Fraze, out of Plano, Texas, was sharp, going seven scoreless, allowing three hits while striking out five.
Entering the home-half of the eighth, D.J. Alexander replaced Fraze on the mound. After a quick strike out to open the inning, things began to get dicey for the Griffons as a walk, followed by a hit-by-pitch brought the tying run to the plate.
With Mike Million up, an error charged to Alexander allowed both Nolan Sasche and Hunter Swift to score, as Million was thrown out trying to advance to third for the second out of the inning. Jefferson City trailed 3-2.
After walking former Griffon Tanner Wetrich, Alexander exited, as the hard-throwing David Ruot was brought in from the pen.
Despite Wetrich advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch, it appeared as though Ruot was on his way to preserving the Griffons one-run lead. However, shortstop Darren Willis was unable to come up with Cole Evans liner, allowing Wetrich to score, tying the contest 3-3. In addition, Evans advanced to second on the play.
Ruot then allowed a single off the bat of Jake Litteken, but right fielder Larranaga was able to cut down Evans at home plate to end the inning.
After going quietly in the top of the ninth, Ruot returned to the mound, picking up a quick out. Ruot then allowed back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second.
Looking for an inning-ending double play –– Ruot, while fielding a Sasche ground ball, looked to second and, after realizing he didn’t have a play, fired to first, as the ball sailed away from Kreutzer –– brining in pinch-runner Josh Estrada as the Renegades secured the walk-off victory.
Ruot (0-2) was saddled with the loss, while Voss (1-0) notched the victory. At the dish for Nevada, Pitoy was 4-for-5 with a run scored, upping his batting average to .310, while Bayless was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
The Griffons return to the diamond Sunday, as they play host to the Sedalia Bombers, with the first pitch slated for 7 p.m.