"It was just a real impressive win for the guys," said Bulls manager Matt Marshall. "We have been close to winning a lot of games early, but we just come up short. The guys have had a problem stringing hits together. I feel we got over the hump tonight. With this win tonight, I think we are going to get on a roll. Just real proud of the way our guys battled back from that four-run inning by the T's and showed real character and resolve to pull out the victory."
Down to their last at-bats and down 7-6 in the ninth, Sikeston graduate Jamie Puckett started the rally with a one-out single. Puckett stole second base and was in scoring position with one out.
The Bulls had to battle against hard-throwing Drew Hayes in the ninth. Hayes of the T's is expected to be drafted in the middle rounds of the June baseball draft. Hayes has been hyped to throw a 95 mph fastball at times.
Hayes struck out Nate Blum of the Bulls and was one out away from the save.
With Bard on second, Tyson Mulvaney induced a two-out walk and Wil Moore loaded the bases for Sikeston by getting hit by pitch from Hayes.
Pinch hitter Andy Wall was up next and had the bases loaded. Wall took a ball from Hayes. T's catcher Chase Sain threw the ball back to Hayes wildly and an alert Bard got a good jump off third base for the Bulls and scored the winning run.
Puckett and Bard had big games for the Bulls. Puckett went 2-for-4 with three stolen bases and a run scored. Bard also went 2-4 with two RBIs for Sikeston.
"Jamie does a little bit of everything for us," said Marshall. "No matter what we need, he seems to be the right guy in the right spot. Whether it be moving the guy over or a clutch hit, you can count on Jamie to deliver. He can play any position that we need him to and he is a big part of the team.
"Sean did what he is supposed to do, he is our designated hitter and our big power guy. That is what we are looking for from him."
The Bulls got out of the gates first with a single tally in the second to open up the scoring.
Shortstop Tyler Martin laid down a perfect bunt for the Bulls, as Moore raced off third base on the suicide squeeze.
With Martin's key sacrifice RBI, the Bulls led 1-0 after two innings.
Both squads kept the score at 1-0 on two separate diving catches in the fourth inning.
In the top of the fourth, right fielder Blum robbed a T's game-tying run with a diving catch running towards the infield to save a run for the Bulls.
The T's answered with an outstanding catch of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Right fielder Seth Stanfill made a diving catch running full speed toward his right to rob Mulvaney of extra bases and a possible RBI.
Tennessee took the lead in the top of the fifth. Brandon Jackson doubled in Zach Clark to tie the game 1-1. Andrew Maddox broke the tie with a two-out RBI single that drove in Jackson. Tennessee led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Bulls responded in their half of the fifth with two runs to retake the lead. Nico Gregali scored on a two-base throwing error by the T's Jackson at short. Jared Elmore singled for the Bulls and was driven home by a deep sacrifice fly to left field by Bard after Elmore had advanced to third. Sikeston led 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning.
Bulls starting pitcher Austin McDowell was up over 110 pitches into the seventh. McDowell gave up four hits, walked two and made a throwing error in the inning that led to four runs being scored by the T's.
With McDowell's pitch count high and runners on base for Tennessee, Marshall thought his pitcher was throwing okay and could weather the storm.
"Austin was throwing real well for us," said Marshall. "They (Tennessee) scored four runs on balls that never got past the pitcher. Not a whole lot you can do about that. He was getting the ground balls like he is supposed to, it just came down to bad luck."
Tennessee extended the lead to 7-3 on a Hayes home run to deep left field in the top of the eighth.
Trailing by four runs late in the contest, the Bulls plated three key runs in their half of the eighth.
Sikeston scored two runs off of Tennessee errors and Gregali recorded an RBI single in the inning for the Bulls.
The stage was set for the game-winning ninth for the Bulls.
"It was a nice way to end a three-game losing streak," said Marshall. "We have been in every game we have played, but for some reason we just come up short. The guys battled and earned the win. Hopefully this will steamroll for us and get our bats going."
Besides the play of Puckett and Bard, Elmore went 2-5 with a run scored and Moore was 2-4 with two runs scored.
Sikeston (2-3) will be on the road for the next three games at Owensboro, Ky. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Bulls will return home on Friday at 7:05 p.m. against the Fulton, Ky. Railroaders.
The first 200 fans will receive a baseball-shaped piggy bank courtesy of Montgomery Bank.
Sikeston 8, Tennessee 7
WP - Ryan Anderson (1-2)
LP - Drew Hayes (0-1)
HR - Hayes (T)
2B - Sean Bard (S), Brandon Jackson (T)
Multiple hitters - Sikeston: Jamie Puckett 2-4, Sean Bard 2-4, Wil Moore 2-4, Jared Elmore 2-5. Tennessee: Chase Sain 2-2, Hayes 2-4, Jackson 2-5. Records- Sikeston 2-3, Tennessee 2-2.