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Renegades roll past Griffins for third win in four games

by Kyle McAreavy | June 8, 2023 at 12:31 a.m.
Justin Rivera of the Renegades connects on a pitch during Wednesday night's game against the Nevada Griffins at Vivion Field. (Kyle McAreavy/News Tribune)

The Jefferson City Renegades were able to take advantage of extra opportunities.

The Nevada Griffons committed five errors that helped lead to five unearned runs in the Renegades’ 11-1 run-rule MINK League win Wednesday night at Vivion Field.

“It’s hard to score without free bases,” Renegades coach Mike DeMilia said. “Free bases are huge. If you don’t walk people and don’t make errors, it’s hard to string three, four, five hits together. So when they help us, maybe we don’t hit the ball very hard and they don’t make the play, you gotta come back and get that two-run single like we did tonight.”

The extra help started in the bottom of the first.

Justin Rivera got the inning started with a grounder Nevada’s third baseman couldn’t handle before his throw to first was in the dirt. Rivera then advanced to second on the first of Eli Hill’s three singles before scoring on one of Kam Durnin’s two hits.

Then the majority of the runs came in the second.

Nate McHugh and Calen Kruger led off the frame with walks, then Kevin Sanchez attempted a sacrifice bunt, but beat the throw for a single before the ball sailed down the line in right, allowing McHugh to score and putting runners on second and third.

Luke Matschiner then singled to score Kruger before an errant pickoff attempt allowed Sanchez to score and put Matschiner on the run. Matschiner sprinted for third on the wild pickoff, then the throw from first sailed to the fence down the third-base line, allowing Matschiner to score.

Charlie Rogan and Hill both singled and eventually scored on Andrew Imgarten’s liner to right for two RBI.

In all, the Renegades scored six runs on two walks, five hits and three errors, while sending 10 batters to the plate in the frame.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of that a few times,” DeMilia said. “But definitely tonight we were in a good spot with it.”

The Renegades added a run in the fourth when Hill singled, advanced all the way to third on another errant pickoff and scored on an Imgarten groundout.

They added two more in the fifth after Matschiner singled and Rivera turned on an 0-2 pitch and sent it to the shed past the left-field fence for a two-run home run, then they added another in the sixth when Imgarten walked, stole second and scored on a McHugh single.

While the Renegades were taking advantage of extra opportunities on offense, they weren’t giving up any on defense.

Charlie Miller started on the mound for Jefferson City, but pitched only one inning, a scoreless frame with a runner reaching when he was hit by a pitch, before he was pulled because of some minor issues.

“He just wasn’t feeling right, no injury or anything,” DeMilia said. “If it’s a spring game, we’d probably stick with him for four or five innings, but in the summer you just don’t do that. … It wasn’t an arm thing, he just didn’t feel right. No concerns there.”

In the ninth game in six days for the Renegades, going to the pen in the second inning was not the hope, but Andrew Orscheln was able to carry the load, throwing the next five innings and allowing one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out six.

“When you’ve got a reliever coming in in the second inning, it kind of stretches you,” DeMilia said. “It’s a tough spot. … Man he was good tonight. To get those five innings to relieve our bullpen will really help us tomorrow. I was starting to think we’d have to use our whole pen tonight.”

Orscheln gave up a hit in the second and third, but pitched his first four innings scoreless. The lone run came on the second pitch of the top of the sixth, when London Penland sent a line drive off the shed past left field, which bounced back into play causing some confusion between the home and field umpires.

Eventually the home umpire overruled the ground-rule double call from the field ump and declared the hit a home run.

Brendan Wilson then came on for the final inning, pitching a scoreless frame with only one batter reaching base when Clay Palen walked.

“When you pitch well, you’re always going to have a chance,” DeMilia said. “Everything starts on the mound. Our defense, it really struggled for a couple of games, but we’ve kind of solidified that.”

Matschiner had two hits and an RBI for Jefferson City, while River scored two runs and had one hit, his home run. Hill singled three times and scored two runs, Durnin singled twice and reached base a third time on a walk, Imgarten had three RBI on one hit and one walk, while Sanchez had a hit and a walk.

“That was good baseball,” DeMilia said. “We got off to a bit of a slow start, but this is the team I thought we’d be. Playing good defense, throwing strikes, swinging the bats pretty good. It’s been a hard week, … I know we’re tired, but we’re getting in a rhythm and playing good baseball.”

Jefferson City (4-6), winners in three of its past four game, continues its brutal stretch of schedule when it plays host to Sedalia at 7 p.m. today, then hosts Des Moines for a doubleheader Friday.


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