Nick Stroud made himself feel right at home Tuesday night inside Quincy University Stadium.
The newest addition to the Quincy Gems did not allow an earned run in 5 ⅔ innings of work to help the Gems to a 7-2 win over Prospect League Western Conference foe Terre Haute.
The win marked just the second time in 10 games the Gems have defeated the Rex this season.
Stroud, who calls QU Stadium home in the spring as a member of the Quincy University Hawks, fanned 10 batters in his Gems debut.
“I was a little nervous before the start of the game but this is my home field, where I go to school,” Stroud said. “Once I got settled in, it felt good.”
It didn’t take the hard-throwing righty to get settled in. Stroud fanned the side in the first inning.
“That gave me a lot of confidence,” he admitted of his fast start. “I like to get the first out of the inning and just try and put up zeros.”
The Rex threatened in the second inning.
A one-out double by Jarrett O’Leary and a pair of walks later in the inning loaded the bases. But Stroud buckled down and got out of the jam with a weak grounder to third.
Nelson Muniz led off the third inning for the Rex with a single, but it would be the final hit Stroud would allow.
He fanned two more batters in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth inning.
Drue Galassi broke a scoreless tie and gave the Gems a 1-0 lead with a two-out home run in the last of the fourth inning. The ball hit the top of the wall in left center and bounced over.
An RBI single by Dalton Schumer extended the Gems lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning, before a sacrifice fly by Nolan Snyder gave the hosts a 3-0 lead later in the inning.
The Rex scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning. Gems left fielder Drue Galassi misplayed a fly ball which allowed Max Wright to score.
Stroud’s night was finished after the error.
Hunter Wienhoff allowed an RBI single to Joe Boyle, which scored the second unearned run of the frame.
Stroud mentioned the error did not bother him much.
“Stuff happens, it’s part of the game,” the winning pitcher said. “I would never blame him. The outfield was like a twilight zone tonight on some plays.”
The Gems quickly answered back.
Cody Birdsong and Schumer came up with RBI singles in the last of the sixth inning to regain the 3-run cushion.
“That was good to see,” Gems co-manager Adam Hightower said of the sixth-inning runs. “Anytime the other team applies a little pressure and we can turn around and do the same to them, kind of punch back, that is how you want to see your team respond.”
The Gems also received a little luck in the inning.
Michael Nielsen reached first when Rex left fielder Zach Milam lost his flyball in the lights. Schumer’s RBI hit also fell safely to the ground when Boyle couldn’t find the shallow fly in center.
Wienhoff took care of the rest.
The Gems reliever retired the Rex in order in the final three innings as he recorded his first save of the season.
“Nick did a fantastic job starting the game, and Hunter came in and did more of the same,” Hightower said of his two hurlers.
Wienhoff finished with three strikeouts.
Hightower mentioned he was pleased with the over team play Tuesday night.
“We played good offensively, defensively and pitched it well too,” he noted. “When you do those three things well, you are always going to give yourself a chance to win.”
Birdsong, Schumer, Galassi and Tyler Engel all recorded a pair of hits in part of a 10-hit attack for the Gems.
The Gems (17-33) and Rex (26-23) meet again Wednesday night at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Ind., before the Gems travel to Springfield on Thursday.