Solid defense kept them close and a late offensive burst ecured the win for the Mid-Missouri Mavericks.
Mid-Missouri overcame a one-run deficit to beat the Richmond Roosters 4-1 on Tuesday at Taylor Stadium.
Down 1-0 in the sixth inning, the Mavericks’ offense got going as center fielder Bryan Hedgecock led off the inning with a bunt for a single. Shortstop Cooper Vittitow walked, and second baseman Adam Rittenhouse hit a ground ball to pitcher Mike Henry, who overthrew first baseman Matt Butler, allowing Hedgecock and Vittitow to score.
Ahead 2-1, the Mavericks (27-39) added another run in the sixth as Rittenhouse scored from third after advancing on a groundout from first baseman Bill Greenwell.
Mid-Missouri’s runs were its first in 22 innings. The Mavericks hadn’t scored since the first inning in Sunday’s game against Washington when Rittenhouse came home on Greenwell’s sacrifice fly.
Mavericks pitcher Grant Dorn (6-4) pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits. He walked two and struck out six.
Dorn said he was thankful for the run support.
“When you go that long without scoring, you know the runs are coming,” he said. “We played small ball with them and it hurt them.”
Dorn said he thought his pitch selection was a big factor.
“The fastball worked really well with them and I threw some off-speed pitches to keep them off balance,” he said.
In the eighth inning, Rittenhouse continued his offensive success, leading off with a solo home run to left field. Rittenhouse finished 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Rittenhouse said hitting a home run was the last thing he expected.
“Home runs, especially for me, are accidents,” he said. “I am friends with (Roosters catcher Jeremiah) Klosterman and he told me the pitch was supposed to be off the plate, but luckily it wasn’t.”
The Mavericks’ infield played well, turning four double plays. The only mistake was an error on Vittitow, who overthrew Greenwell in the fifth.
Rittenhouse said the double plays were key to helping Dorn stop Richmond (38-28).
“Any time you get a double play, it’s a pitcher’s best friend,” he said.
Reliever Ryan Bogardus entered with two outs in the eighth. He got out of the inning and retired the first two batters in the ninth before Chris Barbettini came on to secure the win.
Mavericks manager Papo Davila said he had confidence in his pitching staff.
“I had my bullpen fresh and after the two runs in the sixth inning, I knew the game was mine,” Davila said.
“I brought in Bogardus in the eighth and he said to Dorn, ‘I’m going to give it to you’ and I knew that he could.”
Davila said he hopes his team’s quality of play will remain constant on the six-game road trip that starts Thursday at Kalamazoo.
“We go on the road for a week and it’s tough but we’re planning on doing the same job,” Davila said.
The Roosters’ run came in the fourth when left fielder Drew Miller singled to right field, driving in Klosterman from third.
Richmond threatened in the eighth.
With two outs, Butler stole second after hitting an infield single, but Bogardus got Willingham to fly out to Vittitow to get out of the inning.
Henry took the loss. Henry allowed three earned runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking three in six innings.