Snappers lack punch in home-opening loss
While the Snappers went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position here at Pohlman Field on Sunday, the Chiefs went 3-for-8 in such situations, saddling Beloit starter Brad Stillings with a hard-luck loss.
“Now we’re waiting for tomorrow to come so we can get here early and work,” said Prada, whose club has scored just five runs in the first four games. “We won’t panic. It’s only four games; we’ve got 138 to go.”
Peoria, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, managed a run on two hits and a walk in the first inning.
Lefty Jose Valdez reached with one out by rapping a shot down the third baseline. Snappers’ third baseman Reggie Williams laid out to glove it and quickly popped up but short-hopped his first baseman, Michael Gonzales, allowing Valdez to scamper around to third on the throwing error. After Matt Cerda drew a walk, designated hitter Greg Rohan roped a liner to center to plate Valdez and pick up the first of his two RBI.
“Everybody has their good days, and I felt pretty good today,” Rohan said. “Any time you’re hitting No. 4, you want to get the RBIs and come through for your team.”
Before Rohan brought home Hak-Ju Lee in the sixth inning with a liner to left off left-hand reliever Matthew Tone, the Snappers had ample opportunities to get even.
The bottom of the order set up the Snappers’ first premier scoring chance in the third inning against Peoria starter Trey McNutt.
Gonzales lined a single back through the box, and the lefty-swinging Williams pushed a single the other way between short and third. When lefty leadoff man James Beresford’s opposite field liner ate up Cerda at third, the Snappers had the bases loaded with no one out.
But Angel Morales fanned on a high fastball in a full count and center fielder Aaron Hicks, the Minnesota Twins’ first-round selection in 2008, also went down swinging. Steven Liddle then worked the count full before bouncing out to George Matheus at second base.
The Snappers threatened again in the fourth as reliever Su-Min Jung issued a pair of walks with no one out. But Jung used a great move to whirl and pick off Derek McCallum at second base, crippling the rally just as it was getting started.
“Our guys competed well when the situations got tight,” Peoria manager Casey Kopitzke said. “We threw the ball pretty well and got a couple of timely hits, but they’ve got a nice club, and I know on another day it’s not going to turn out the same way,”
In the ninth inning, Beloit catcher Danny Rams got to Peoria closer Jason Latham as he ripped a line drive to left center and legged out a double despite Jeses Morelli cutting the ball off in the alley.
“He made his own decision and made up his mind he was going to make it,” Prada said.
The hustling double brought the tying run to the plate, but Gonzales fanned and Williams bounced back to Latham, who threw to first to earn his second save in as many Chiefs wins.
Hicks, whose season-opening funk reached 0-for-13 when he grounded out in the fifth, bounced his first hit of the season through the right side of the infield in the eighth.
“He put that one away now,” Prada said. “When you’re in a slump for 10 or 12 at-bats, all you need is a base hit to get going.”
Stillings settled in nicely after throwing 30 pitches in the top of the first, allowing just one hit over his next four innings of work.
“He was really solid, and we expect him to do well,” Prada said. “He had one tough inning, but he handled the situations really good. He settled down and worked ahead in the count.”
Now Prada hopes his team can settle into a groove—in all phases of the game.
“We’re feeling good about this team,” Prada said. “We’re pitching well right now and playing good defense right now. That’s the way it is—you’re pitching and defense are good, but you’re not hitting. Sometimes you start hitting and your pitching isn’t good. Sometimes it’s hard to get everything together and pulling in the same direction.”
PEORIA 2, BELOIT 0
Peoria (ab-r-h-rbi)—Lee, ss, 4-1-2-0; Valdez, cf, 4-1-1-0; Cerda, 3b, 3-0-1-0; Rohan, dh, 4-0-3-2; Bour, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Rosa, c, 4-0-0-0; Matheus, 2b, 4-0-0-0; Ramirez, rf, 4-0-0-0; Morelli, lf, 3-0-0-0. Totals: 33-2-7-2.
Beloit (ab-r-h-rbi)—Beresford, ss, 3-0-0-0; Morales, rf, 4-0-0-0; Hicks, cf, 4-0-1-0; Liddle, lf, 4-0-0-0; McCallum, 2b, 2-0-1-0; Striech, dh, 3-0-0-0; Rams, c, 4-0-1-0; Gonzales, 1b, 3-0-1-0; Williams, 4-0-1-0. Totals: 31-0-5-0.
Peoria 100 001 000—2
Beloit 000 000 000—0
E—Cerda, McCallum, Beresford. LOB—Peoria 6, Beloit 9. DP—Beloit. 2B—Ram, Lee. SB—McCallum.
IP H R ER BB SO
McNutt 3 2 0 0 2 7
Jung (W, 1-0) 4 1 0 0 2 1
Grife 1 1 0 0 0 2
Latham (S, 2) 1 1 0 0 0 1
Stillings (L, 0-1) 5 3 1 1 1 1
Tone 1 3 1 1 1 3
Watts 2 1 0 0 0 0
Tootle 1 0 0 0 0 0