Bradley Harrison didn’t move an inch.
The Quincy Gems right fielder knew right away the ball Nelson Muniz hit would land well beyond the wall.
Muniz’s three-run no-doubt home run in the top of seventh inning sent the visiting Terre Haute Rex to a 6-3 victory over the Gems in Prospect League action Thursday night at Quincy University Stadium.
“That was very big,” Rex manager Tyler Wampler said of the game-winning home run. “We are always wondering who’s going to be the guy who steps up late in games for us. Tonight it was Nelson.”
The Gems had just taken their first lead of the game in the home half of the sixth inning.
Nolan Snyder delivered a clutch two-out two-run single to center giving the hosts a 3-2 lead.
“He came up with a really big two-out hit when we failed twice to get the run home from third,” Gems co-manager Adam Hightower said. “He picked up his teammates there.”
The Rex scored single tallies in the first and second innings for the early lead.
Gems starting pitcher Mitchell Sorensen walked four guys in the first frame which plated the first run.
Tucker Greer stole home in the second for a 2-0 lead.
Then Sorensen found his mark. He retired 11 straight batters from the end of the second inning into the top of the sixth.
According to Hightower, the right-hander found command of one pitch.
“He found his changeup and he really got going,” the Gems on-field skipper said of his starting hurler. “He really got into a groove for three or four innings and he did a nice job of not letting what happened in the first inning, snowball.”
After the first two batters in the seventh inning reached with singles and were advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, Sorensen was removed from the game.
Nate Green relieved the righty and was greeted by Muniz’s blast.
“They did a better job of situational hitting than we did and that was the difference in the game,” Hightower said. “But it was a good battle all night, a fun game to be a part of and in front of a great home crowd all night. It was a fun game, we just came out on the wrong end.”
Harrison accounted for the Gems first run of the game with a his eighth home run of the summer.
Drue Galassi finished the night 3-for-4 at the dish in the loss.
“Drue was seeing the ball really well tonight and he barrelled a lot of baseballs,” Hightower said. “Bradley had some good at bats up there too.”
Geremy Guerrero pitched seven strong innings to earn the win for the Rex (31-26), who remain half a game ahead of the Danville Dans for the second and final playoff spot in the Western Division.
The Gems (19-39) will finish up their disappointing season with a pair of games on the road Friday (Danville) and Saturday (Terre Haute).
“We have not had the outcomes we wanted this season, but it’s been good to be a part of,” Hightower said of closing out the home schedule. “The fan support has been great all season, and the guys who are in this dugout tonight still, they never quit and have never given up. They have stuck with it till the end and it shows the kind of character they have. It is something they all can be proud of.”