(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Despite an early deficit for the second straight game, the Sikeston Bulldogs rallied behind a solid pitching effort by sophomore Trey Tigart for an impressive 11-7 victory over Jackson on Thursday at VFW Stadium.
After falling behind by eight runs in the second inning in Wednesday's loss to Kennett, the Bulldogs appeared to be on the verge of another long afternoon by surrendering four runs in the top of the first inning to Jackson.
But Sikeston (6-2) immediately tied the score in the bottom of the first inning and took control of the game from there with timely hitting, alert base running and a defense that was spectacular at times.
It was a statement victory for the Bulldogs as Jackson was fresh off a 4-1 victory against conference leader Notre Dame on Tuesday.
"It's a big win -- a district and conference win," Sikeston coach Kevin Self said.
After Jackson took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on the strength of back-to-back doubles by Dylan Koehler and Trevor Jaco, the Bulldogs had dug an early hole for the second straight game.
Sikeston, with the help of control problems by Jackson hurler Zach McDowell, quickly tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the first, with a pair of run-scoring singles by Blake Newman and Ross Bohannon.
"That really kind of set us back," Jackson coach Tatum Kitchen said. "We jumped out 4-0 and now it's back to even again and we just couldn't kick it back in gear."
Tigart, who was hurt by a pair of errors in the first inning, including one of his own, settled down with three straight scoreless innings. Even when he did get into trouble, he was able to get out of jams with solid defense.
After a leadoff walk in the top of the second, he picked the runner off after numerous throws to first and then in the third inning he got an unassisted double play by Bohannon at first base on a line drive.
"That just turned the entire game around," Self said of his team's rally. "Had we come in and went 0-for and didn't get anything, it would have been a tough road for us. But getting that four and then going back out and getting them 1-2-3, that changed everything. Trey getting us back in the dugout and hanging a few zeroes and allowing us to build a lead was huge."
Meanwhile, McDowell's day was already over after one inning pitched as he was relieved by Adam James in the second inning.
"In the bottom of the first we couldn't find the strike zone and I think that kind of compounded a little bit," Kitchen said. "Then your defense gets lax as they're watching them walk. Zach admitted after the first that he couldn't locate his pitches well enough. He's thrown so well, so I was kind of surprised. When he did throw strikes, Sikeston did a good job of putting it in play."
Sikeston immediately greeted James with three runs in the bottom of the second to lead 7-4 behind run-scoring singles by Nathan Rodgers and Trent McMillan.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 9-4 in the fourth on another RBI-single by McMillan.
Jackson (6-4) cut the lead to 9-5 in the top of the fifth on an RBI-single by Logan Bartels, but Sikeston answered with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to lead 11-5.
The Indians tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to reach the final margin.
"We ended up with 15 hits, but the thing was we never got them in succession or we'd get a couple with nobody on," Kitchen said. "He made good pitches when he needed to or we'd have the guys that are struggling that would be up at the key times."
Tigart got the win, pitching all seven innings and allowing seven runs (five earned) off 15 hits. He struck out six and walked three.
"He mixes pitches and he changes speeds somewhat and he doesn't let them sit on pitches," Self said of Tigart. "He was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes today. When he got in trouble, he calmed down and made good pitches, and for the most part we made the plays behind him."
James was the losing pitcher in relief, throwing four innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) off eight hits and five walks.
McDowell allowed four runs off three hits and three walks in his only inning pitched. Bobby Clark threw a scoreless sixth in relief.
Luke Keefer, Tyler Anderson, Blake Newman, Rodgers and McMillan each had two hits for the Bulldogs.
McMillan also had three RBIs.
"We didn't have a lot of strikeouts," Self said. "We had 11 strikeouts yesterday and that bothered me. These guys didn't quite have the pop, but they still had some pretty good stuff. We put the ball in play with authority."
Jackson was led by Jaco's three hits and three RBIs. Bartels also had three hits for the Indians.
Sikeston is scheduled for a makeup game today as they host Dexter at 4 p.m.
"We're just trying to make sure that we get better with every game, and today, after yesterday, I felt we got better," Self said.
Jackson 400 012 0 -- 7
Sikeston 430 220 x -- 11
WP -- Trey Tigart. LP -- Adam James. 2B -- (J) Zach McDowell, Dylan Koehler, Trevor Jaco, Alex Bolen, Logan Bartels. (S) Luke Keefer.
The Bulldogs junior varsity team lost a pitcher's duel 2-1 on Thursday.
Sikeston was able to get five hits in the game with Jarrett Sandlin going 2-for-2. Sandlin also walked and scored the Bulldogs only run in the second inning.
Sandlin also took the loss on the mound, giving up only two runs, allowing single runs in the third and fifth innings.
Sikeston is now 3-2 on the season and will take on Dexter this afternoon, weather permitting..