The Hannibal Hoots scored four runs in the third inning to back pitcher Dylan Dodd and beat Quincy 5-3 on Tuesday for their eighth straight win.
Clayton Hicks made a slow walk out to the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night at QU Stadium.
Hannibal starting pitcher Dylan Dodd was facing adversity for the first time in the game.
The Hoots southpaw needed just one pitch after Hicks returned to the dugout to get out of the inning.
Quincy scored three runs in the frame prior to the mound visit, but the Hoots still led.
It ended up being the only trouble Dodd faced in the game, as the Hoots earned their eighth straight win with a 5-3 triumph.
“I just went out there to tell him to relax,” Hicks said of his fifth-inning mound visit. “His stuff was good enough to win at any time. So it was more just to give him a break and allow him to hit the reset button.”
Corey Young belted his fourth home run of the summer earlier in the inning to pull the Gems to within 5-3.
Cody Klotz and Francisco Rodriguez collected back-to-back two-out hits prior to Hicks' visit.
“It was pretty hot and coach just wanted me to give a breather,” the southpaw said.
Dodd pitched two more scoreless frames before giving way to the Hoots bullpen.
Brendan Saak and Jonny Steiner recorded the final six outs, in order, to secure the win.
“Our bullpen has been great all summer,” the Hoots skipper said. “Brendan has been a blessing and has done a little bit of everything for us. Then Jonny comes in and pounds it in there to finish it off.”
All five runs the Hoots scored came on two-out base hits.
Wyatt Whitman delivered an RBI double in the top of the second for the first run of the game.
An inning later, Tye Thixton, Sam Nozicka and Aaron Goecks came up with consecutive run-scoring hits to extend the lead to 5-0.
Thixton’s knock brought home two.
“We just couldn’t get the big out to get out of it,” Gems manager Rick Fraire said of the four-run third inning. “That was the difference in the game.”
Brady Netherton suffered the loss for the Gems. The right-hander lasted just three innings and allowed eight hits.
The Hoots pounded out 12 hits for the game.
Thixton (3-for-4) and Jose Mercado (2-for-5) collected five hits.
“Just a good overall team win tonight,” Dodd said. “When you get that kind of production from your offense, as a pitcher that is all you can ask for. It makes my job a lot easier and allows me to miss on a couple pitches and not have to worry about it costing us the game.”
Rodriguez finished 2-for-4 as the Gems collected six hits.
“We just did not hit the ball well tonight,” Fraire stated. “We ran up against one of the best pitchers in the league. He was good tonight.”
With the loss, Quincy falls back to .500 at 15-15.
“We are fine,” Fraire said. “We just need to keep doing what we do and we will be alright.”
The Hoots improve to 12-17 on the year.
“We are playing great team baseball and it feels great,” Dodd said of the winning streak. “We are pitching, stealing bases, bunting people over and producing runs in multiple ways, which is not what we were doing earlier in the season.”
The two West Division rivals play a twin bill Wednesday at Clemens Field. The first game starts at 3:05 p.m.
“Hopefully we can keep this thing going,” Hicks said.