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Bulls slump continues

Thursday, July 20, 2006

(Photo)
Sikeston Bulls hurler David Reynolds fires a pitch.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulls struggled against the Kitty League leaders Owensboro, Ky. Oilers again on Wednesday night and lost 15-5 in a one-

sided affair at VFW Stadium.

After taking the first game of the series on Monday night, the Bulls have been outscored 24-5 in the last two games.

The Oilers put the game away early scoring seven runs in the top of the third on only two hits.

Sikeston starter David Reynolds hit three Oiler players in the third, walked two and a big three-run error by the Bulls third baseman Michael Skinner changed the entire outlook on the contest.

(Photo)
Owensboro led 4-1 in the third and Reynolds battled to get two outs but the Oilers had the bases loaded. Reynolds got the Oilers' Bryce Pund to bounce weakly down the third base line where Skinner fielded cleanly and looked to throw to first for the third out and to minimize the damage.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, Skinner's throw was low in the dirt which first baseman Tyson Mulvaney could not handle. All three Oiler runners scored and Pund ended up on third. Owensboro led 7-1 and never were challenged again.

"We just didn't play well tonight," said Sikeston manager Matt Marshall. "We came out flat and I am not exactly sure why that was. We made some errors that we usually don't make and we just didn't play good baseball."

The decision to leave Reynolds to pitch the third and then to come back for the fourth, where Reynolds allowed three more runs to cross the plate, was a non-issue for Marshall.

"David didn't throw all that bad in the third," said Marshall. "I had no thought about taking him out before the fourth inning. The guys made some errors behind him, which led to many of the runs in the inning. We make one or two plays behind him, we maybe give up one or two runs.

"It wasn't David's fault by design. Owensboro was not knocking him around that much. We just didn't make plays in the field to help him out. David threw a lot of pitches and on a hot day like today, just ran out of gas in the fourth." The Bulls (11-28) seemed to lose momentum in the bottom of the second, as Sikeston loaded the bases with no outs and only scored one run.

Clutch hitting, especially with runners in scoring position, has been the downfall of the Bulls all season.

The lone run scored in the second came on a bases loaded walk drawn by Skinner.

Sikeston's next hitter struck out and leadoff hitter Tyler Martin grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat in the second.

The Bulls led for the only time in the contest, 1-0.

Owensboro (25-13) tacked on three runs in the top of the sixth and two more in the eighth to seal the game 15-5.

Oilers starting pitcher Brandon Brooks went eight effective innings, allowed four earned runs, walked three and struck out 10.

First baseman Casey Martin led the offensive charge for Owensboro going 5-

for-5 with four runs and two RBIs.

Brad Shaeffer led the Oilers with three RBIs while Will Devick and Corey Osborne had two RBIs a piece.

Jamie Puckett and Craig Session had two hits apiece to pace the offensive attack for the Bulls.

Included in one of the hits for Session was a fourth inning home run over the right field wall for the lefty.

The Bulls are eliminated from contention in the league race and are 14 games behind Owensboro.

Marshall understands that the team morale might be low, but expects his guys to finish strong down the stretch.

"It is difficult for the guys to stay up knowing that we are out of contention for the league lead," said Marshall. "We have had a lot of close games go against us and that will take a toll on a team. The guys have played hard, but losing enough one-run games will wear down anybody. Eventually, we get down two or three runs and the guys have that 'here we go again' thought. I believe the guys will stay at it and finish strong down this two-week stretch."

The four-game series with the Oilers ends tonight at VFW Stadium with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

Owensboro 15, Sikeston 5

Oilers007303020-15130
Bulls011100011-581

WP - Brandon Brooks

LP - David Reynolds (1-5)

HR - Craig Session (S), Chris Scoggins (0)

2B - Casey Martin (O)

Multiple hitters - Sikeston: Craig Session 2-3, Jamie Puckett 2-4. Owensboro: Casey Martin 5-5, Will Devick 2-3, Chris Scoggins 2-4.

LOB - Sikeston 8, Owensboro 6.

Records - Sikeston 11-28, Owensboro 25-13.