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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Bulls chased down

Sunday, July 8, 2007

(Photo)
Sikeston's Scott Hudgins is caught in a run-down.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulls had a solid first half of the season, but the second half hasn't started so well.

The Bulls have lost five of their last seven games with the mental mistakes still coming to the forefront in the losses.

Sikeston was swept in a doubleheader on Friday night, falling to Owensboro 4-2 and then 4-1 in the nightcap.

The Bulls are now 14-16 on the season.

"It was just like the last time when we had two days off," said Sikeston coach Jamie Puckett. "We came out lazy and weren't ready to play and we weren't focused, and the same thing happened tonight. We had plenty of chances and plenty of opportunities. How you don't come to play after having two days off I'll never figure out. You should be 100 percent -- 110 percent. Instead we came out about 50, or 30 percent. It was embarrassing to watch that. We're the best team in the league and we come out and play like that."

(Photo)
Sikeston's Dan Robbins throws a pitch.
The Bulls actually did get four successful sacrifice bunts down in the game. However, a squeeze play failed, another bunt was popped up and two players got picked off base.

"Bunting is the easiest part of the game and we've got to be the worst bunting team in the league," said Puckett. "I don't know if we should take one whole practice and do nothing but bunt or what. We win this game easily if we come to play and stay focused. If we're focused we get bunts down, you get the hit-and-run, you don't miss signs."

And that was just on offense.

The Bulls also had three errors on defense, leading to two runs, and the Sikeston pitching staff combined for eight walks and three hit batters.

"We are usually the best defensive team in the league and we made three errors tonight -- every one of them hurt us," said Puckett. "We just weren't focused. Then all of a sudden, in the last inning we heard that Fulton lost, and then they're are fired up and want to win. You can't do that. You have to be in the game from inning one."

Dan Robbins was the losing pitcher in five innings of work. His control was off as he walked six and hit three, although he was able to pitch out of several jams with 10 strikeouts. He allowed four runs -- two earned -- off three hits.

"Dan is like Jason Isringhausen -- he may walk the bases loaded and then strike the next three out," said Puckett. "You never know what you get sometimes. His outings have been good except for the walks and hit by pitches. Down in the bullpen he looked perfect. He just didn't have it tonight, but he still gives it his all. He goes out there and throws 120-plus pitches. He never gives up."

Jeremy Brinkmeyer pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Meanwhile, Owensboro hurler Matt Shelton, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound righty, baffled Sikeston's hitters.

He threw all seven innings and allowed six hits. Both runs were unearned. He struck out four and walked two.

"I think Matt came out and was cruising early," said Owensboro coach Alan Cox. "It got a little nerve-wracking in that last inning. He's one of our best. He closed for us last year, so we knew he could finish up pretty strong. He's a Division I pitcher at Indiana State so he's going to compete hard."

Sikeston had the tying run on second base in the bottom of the seventh but Shelton retired the final two batters to end the game.

Owensboro took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning as two errors, a walk and a hit batter led to both scores.

Sikeston scored a run in the bottom of the third on a fielder's choice-RBI by Scott Hudgins. The Bulls tied it in the fourth on Troy Sitton's RBI-single.

But Owensboro (14-14) answered with two runs in the fifth. Jake Schaakee had the two-run single that proved to be the winning runs.

"We didn't hit the ball real well so you have to find ways to move guys around and try to find some holes," said Cox. "That's what happened on that play -- it was a hit-and-run with Schaakee. We probably stranded 10 runners before that."

Schaakee had three hits to lead Owensboro. Adam Akin had an RBI-single. Shawn Kuester had the Oilers' only other hit.

Hudgins, Robbie Hohler, Mason Mosby, Sitton, Brett Miller and Brooks Royer each had a single for the Bulls.

Sikeston's Ryan Poole was the losing pitcher in the second game despite a complete-game effort.

Sikeston's offensive woes continues as they only had three hits. Twice the Bulls had the bases loaded with one out but came away with no runs.

"It was just a long day today," said Puckett. "This couldn't have gone worse for us. Hopefully we can rebound (Saturday)."

Sikeston was scheduled to finish its series with Owensboro on Saturday.

The Bulls host Tradewater in a doubleheader today at 2 p.m.