Nick Renault had been in the company of his Mid-Missouri teammates for about two minutes Saturday when he realized he’d forgotten something.
The recently well-used right-hander, about to pitch for the third time in six days, sprung up from his seat in the dugout and retreated back to the clubhouse.
He emerged soon after with a can of carbonated energy drink.
“SoBe No Fear,” he said in a campy Hollywood voice, holding the can up to an imaginary camera. “So I have no fear on the mound.”
Whether the beverage played a role or not, Renault did little to warrant panic in his seven innings.
As it turned out, though, he could have used something to remedy a shoddy defense.
Mid-Missouri committed three errors in its 5-3 loss to the Washington Wild Things at Taylor Stadium.
The Mavericks fell to 21-38. Coupled with a Windy City victory, they dropped into the West Division and Frontier League cellar.
Washington entered the game tied for first place in the East Division and leading the Frontier League in batting average, walks, and stolen bases.
“A patient approach and good strike zone discipline, that goes hand-in-hand,” Wild Things manager John Massarelli said before the game. “(Our hitters are) tough to strike out and make you throw strikes. That’s a key in any level, but that’s what we do well.”
Renault, with a tired arm and on short rest, didn’t seem to notice.
He had earned the victory in his last two outings before Saturday. He started at Rockford Sunday, then pitched two innings of scoreless relief at home Thursday against Richmond.
Renault had been called upon because Mid-Missouri’s bullpen was short due to recent roster moves.
“They needed somebody down there,” he said. “I knew that my arm could recover and I could do it. I volunteered — whatever I can do to help the team win.”
When the call to start came Saturday, he answered it.
Renault retired the first two hitters in the seventh before first baseman Thomari Story-Harden dropped a looping line drive off the bat of Washington’s Lance Koenig.
Story-Harden had lost track of the ball in the lights.
“You can’t be mad at him for that,” Renault said. “If the ball gets in the lights, that’s real hard to get after. That stuff happens. You’ve got to roll with that stuff.”
Renault hit the next batter, Chris Carter, to put two men on for All Star game MVP Mike Arbinger.
Arbinger drove two runs home with a double to left field, putting Washington (37-24) on top by the final margin. Both were unearned.
Renault (6-4) spaced seven hits, four strikeouts, and five runs, two earned, in seven innings.
Mid-Missouri fell to 9-13 in interdivisional play with the loss. The Mavericks have lost five of seven series against East Division teams.
Their two series wins came on the road against Florence and Chillicothe in late June.
East Division clubs entered Saturday a collective 18 games over .500. The West was 18 under.
Still, Massarelli took exception to calling his division the class of the league.
“I think it’s all cyclical,” he said. “It depends on how it falls every year.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A replay of Saturday’s game will air Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. on MediaCom Channel 20.
The teams play again tonight at 6:05.