The Quincy Gems picked up an 8-4 home win over Lafayette on Sunday as they improved to 4-0 on the season.
Rick Fraire was welcomed back to Quincy in the best way he could think of — with a win.
The Quincy Gems manager arrived to QU Stadium just a couple hours before first pitch against the visiting Lafayette Aviators.
Fraire, who is in his fifth season with the Gems, had been coaching his high school team in Texas prior to this weekend.
The Gems picked up an 8-4 win over the Aviators on Sunday as they improved to 4-0 on the season.
“It’s good to be back,” Fraire said. “The guys did a great job of competing out here tonight and I could not have asked for a better welcome home.”
Cody Birdsong gave the Gems a lead in the second inning. The Quincy University product smacked an opposite field two-run home run for a 2-0 lead.
“(The Lafayette pitcher) had a lot of movement on his pitches moving away from me,” Birdsong described. “So I was just looking for something up in the zone. That is what I got and I was happy with it, obviously.”
Kyle Crowl extended the Gems lead to 4-0 in the third inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single. Ryan Knernschield (walk) and Cody Klotz (hit by pitch) scored on the play. Birdsong came in to score on a balk for a 5-0 lead.
Lafayette got on the board with a single tally in the fourth before scoring three more in the fifth.
The three-run frame was aided by a pair of Quincy errors.
But the Gems had an answer.
Crowl led off the last of the sixth with his first home run of the summer.
Birdsong then capped the scoring with a two-run single in the seventh.
“He is as good as advertised,” Fraire said of Birdsong. “He is just a gamer.”
Fraire mentioned he was pleased with the way his team responded after the Aviators clawed their way back into the game.
“We made a couple errors which led to their big inning,” the Gems coach said. “It seemed like they (Lafayette) were right there, and then we had a couple guys step up and say, ‘Not today, not today.’ They all played a great game.”
Riley Boyd picked up the win in relief.
The right hander replaced Tyler Jones with one out in the fifth. Boyd limited the damage in the frame with a strikeout and a popout.
Boyd pitched 2 ⅓ innings, before Kyle Waller and Nick King recorded the final six outs.
“Our bullpen was lights out again like they have been all season,” Fraire said. “We just have a bunch of guys who are ready to go.”
Birdsong, Crowl, Francisco Rodriguez and Bailey Montgomery all finished with a pair of hits a piece.
“We have just been swinging it really well,” Birdsong said of the Gems offense. “We just have a bunch of guys who compete in the box.”
The win moves the Gems to 4-0 on the season as they are the only undefeated team left in the Prospect League.
“We have a lot of games left so it’s not something we are thinking about right now,” Fraire said of the record. “But we are not complaining with where we are.”
Quincy is scheduled to return to the diamond Monday for a doubleheader at Western Division foe Danville.