Mavericks show signs of life, fade away late

Friday, July 9, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:22 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 30, 2008

The Mavericks’ performance improved Thursday night, but there was plenty of room for it after losing in a one-hitter the night before.

The Gateway Grizzlies routed the Mavericks again at Taylor Stadium, this time 11-3.

The Grizzlies grabbed the lead in the first on Todd Oetting’s second home run of the series and never let up. Four Mavericks’ pitchers gave up 17 hits.

“(Our pitchers) haven’t had it for awhile,” Mavericks manager Jim Gentile said.

“We’re making a lot of mistakes out there ... we’re trying to teach them how to pitch, and they’ve got to grasp it. If they don’t, they get belted.”

Trailing 1-0 with one out in the third, Mid-Missouri starter John Picco walked Jimmy Reiter and Oetting. Mike Breyman followed with a double to score Reiter, and Phil Warren added a single that scored both runners to stretch the lead to 4-0.

Two batters later, Ryan Sullivan drove home Warren to put Gateway (26-21) up 5-0.

The Mavericks offense woke up in the fourth after Gateway held them to one hit and no runs for the first 10 innings of the series.

Dusty Hillman led off the inning with a single up the middle off Gateway starter Brandon Smith. Two batters later, Brent Metheny drove him home with a triple off the wall in left center.

Blake Blase followed with a single to right field to score Metheny. Blase moved to second after Eric Darjean walked, and both runners moved into scoring position on Smith’s wild pitch. Matt Oakes hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Blase and narrow the gap to 5-3.

Gateway pulled away in the fifth, as third baseman Greg Stevens led off the inning with an opposite-field home run over the right field wall. Ryan Sullivan added an RBI double to put Gateway up 7-3.

Sullivan went 4-for-4 on the day with a double, a walk, one run scored and four RBI.

The Grizzlies added two runs seventh and eighth innings, and the Mavericks never threatened to score for the rest of the game.

“You say, ‘Gee whiz, we fought back to get three to get within a chance of winning,’ and bang, they get two, and the guy hits one nine miles out of the ballpark,” Gentile said.

While the Mavs (7-39) had another disappointing performance, it was not without a highlight-reel play.

In the seventh with a runner on first, Oetting hit a ground ball up the middle that Mavs shortstop Rafael Lara backhanded on the outfield grass.

Without turning, Lara made a no-look backhand flip between his legs that bounced to Hillman in time for the force out.

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