The Bulls (11-26) will take the win, but it was not a masterpiece on the mound for Sikeston. Three Bull relievers combined to walk seven and hit five Oiler batters.
Effectively wild is a apt term for the Bulls pitchers on Monday night and the ninth inning capsulated the game perfectly for the Bulls.
Leading 6-3 heading into the top of the ninth, Sikeston brought in closer Dan Robbins, who leads the Bulls in saves with four.
Out of the gate, Robbins hit Oilers leadoff batter Devon Franklin in the ninth. The next batter grounded out moving Franklin over to second base. Robbins then proceeded to hit Corey Osborne, but struck out Will Devick to get the second out of the inning.
Casey Martin extended the inning for Owensboro (23-13) with an RBI-single scoring Franklin. Robbins hit the next Oiler batter loading up the bases with two outs.
Robbins continued his wildness on the Oilers' Bryce Pund. Robbins threw two straight balls out of the zone and the pressure was mounting on the Bulls closer.
"I have to have the mind frame that the next pitch is no different from the last pitch," said Robbins. "It is the same game plan. I always have to hit the mitt and there is really no pressure. In fact, I enjoy the pressure. We had a nice two-run lead and I wasn't really worried about the situation at hand."
On the next pitch, Robbins threw wildly towards the plate and the ball skipped by catcher Nico Gregali. Owensboro's Hauser raced for home as the ball went to the backstop.
Gregali got a favorable bounce off the back wall and fielded the ball cleanly. In a split second Gregali turned and fired towards home plate, where Robbins awaited for the throw. Robbins caught the ball and made a swipe tag on Hauser just before he crossed the plate to record the final out.
"Dan is our closer and I am always confident that he can get the job done," said Bulls manager Matt Marshall. "Dan threw seven innings a couple of games ago due to the two doubleheaders we played at Farmington. His location was a bit off tonight, but it was still his game and I was not worried. Dan has a history of hitting a couple of batters every now and then, but bottom line is that we got the win."
Robbins explained that the wild pitch was due to miscommunication between Gregali and himself.
"On the wild pitch," said Robbins, "we got crossed up on the signs and I threw a slider instead of the fastball. We got crossed up on the first pitch earlier in the count, as I threw a fastball and he expected a slider. As soon as my catcher moved his glove the opposite direction of where the pitch should have gone, I knew I had made a mistake. I immediately knew once the ball went to the back stop that I had to get the runner at home. They went for it and my catcher my an excellent throw to the plate."
Gregali admitted that the last play of the game was all a matter of fundamentals.
"We got crossed up on the first and last pitch of the at-bat," said Gregali. "I couldn't believe that we got crossed up again on the third pitch, but we got the guy at the plate and it worked out for us. We practice that exact situation at college every day, so I am used to turning and throwing towards the plate. Once I hear that the runner was heading for home I knew the game was over. He was going to be out at the plate."
The Bulls got a huge boost from newcomer Craig Session in right field. Session only went 1-for-2 but made the most of his at-bats. Besides the RBI-
single in the sixth inning, Session induced a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the second to put Sikeston out front 1-0.
In the fourth, Session hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field scoring Tyson Mulvaney to put the Bulls up 2-0.
"We got a couple of new guys in here that have really put a spark in the entire club," said Marshall. "With the influx of new players it has boosted morale a little bit and I think we have gained some confidence over a couple of days."
The Bulls put the game out of reach for the Oilers in the sixth inning as Sikeston got RBIs from Session, Michael Skinner and a suicide squeeze from Gregali to plate the fourth and final run of the inning.
Sikeston got multiple hits from Sean Bard, Tyson Mulvaney and Sikeston native Jamie Puckett. Bard went 3-4 with a run scored and Mulvaney 2-4 with two runs scored.
Puckett went 2-4 including a perfectly placed bunt in the fifth inning. Puckett left the contest in the bottom of the eighth as he appeared to twist his ankle charging for a ball in left field. The injury is not thought to be serious.
The Bulls are currently 9-5 at home and will have the league front-runners for three more games at VFW.
"The guys hope they can come out this series and become spoilers in the league," said Marshall. "Owensboro is sitting pretty on top and the guys want to come out and make it tough on them. It is always nice to get a win, especially against the league leaders."
The Bulls and Oilers will continue the four-game series tonight with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. All seats will be two dollars for the contest.
WP - Shane Graupman (1-1)
LP - Brad Shaeffer
SV - Dan Robbins (5)
HR - Chris Scoggins (O)
2B - Michael Skinner (S)
Multiple hitters - Sikeston: Sean Bard 3-4, Tyson Mulvaney 2-3, Jamie Puckett 2-4. Owensboro: Bryce Pund 2-3, Scoggins 2-4, Casey Martin 2-5.
CS - Jamie Puckett (S)
LOB - Sikeston 6, Owensboro 12. Records - Sikeston 11-26. Owensboro 23-13.