NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville’s pitching staff combined for 15 strikeouts but it wasn’t enough to hold off a late rally by Dubois County as the Bombers broke a 3-3 tie game in the top ninth to edge the Outlaws, 4-3 at Hawkins Field on Thursday.
Thursday’s game between Dubois County and Nashville marked the first game of the second season of the 2010 Prospect League. The Outlaws (0-1) went 14-14 during the first half of the regular season and finished just 1.5 games behind first-place Central Division winner Danville, who finished 15-12.
The Outlaws jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when they scored two runs on two hits while taking advantage of two walks. Billy Rumpke III (Columbia) led-off the first with a walk and then advanced to second on sharp single to left-field by Sam Dove (Georgia Tech). Kevin Smith (LSU-Shreveport) would then drive in Rumpke from second on a single to center, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead. Following a Greg Bachman (Austin Peay) walk, Ryan McCauley would then ground into 4-6-3 double-play, allowing Dove to score from third to make it 2-0.
Dubois County cut into Nashville’s lead in the top of the fourth when they recorded three consecutive two-out singles, including an RBI-single by Gavin Green before Nashville starter PJ Francescon (Trevecca Nazarene) got DC Legg to fly-out with the bases loaded to limit the threat.
The Outlaws would tack on another run in the bottom of the fourth when Doug Joyce (Florida International) launched his second home run of the season into the bleachers in left-center.
Nashville continued to lead 3-1 until Dubois tied the game in the seventh on a two-out, two-RBI single by Steve Tkowski off of Steven Murray (TCU).
With the game tied at three, the Outlaws struggled to come up with the key hit as they failed to record a hit after the fourth inning.
Dubois County notched its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth when Evan Patterson scored on a single through the left side by Tkowski off Nashville reliever Kevin Crumb (Buffalo).
The Outlaws had one final chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth but Dubois’ Ben Bullard struck out two of the three batters he faced to earn his third save of the summer.
Nashville’s pitching staff was sharp once again as Francescon, Murray and Crumb combined for 15 strikeouts. Francescon allowed one run on five hits in five innings with six strikeouts and three walks.
Murray struck out five while allowing two runs on two hits.
Crumb finished with four strikeouts and one walk in two-innings of relief.
The Outlaws will host the Richmond River Rats on Friday and Saturday night at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. Friday night’s game will start at 7 p.m. while Saturday’s will be at 6 p.m.