Whiskey Jacks slow down Reller, Moo in 7-4 win
Their 26 round-trippers lead the Expedition League by a wide margin this year, but the Moo were held to just one extra-base hit in the Whiskey Jacks’ 7-4 victory, moving their record to 10-13 on the year.
Hitting moonshots regularly this year, the Fremont (Neb.) Moo sluggers were stonewalled by Kraft Field on Wednesday.
They were able to make strong contact, but each ball died quickly in the outfield.
“We’re pretty lucky to play at Kraft sometimes. It is definitely a pitcher's ballpark with the trees across the outfield blocking the wind, so that helps our pitchers quite a bit,” Whiskey Jacks head coach Robby Laughlin said after the game. “Focus tonight was to pound the zone with our offspeed stuff and just try to keep them off balance.”
Their 26 round-trippers lead the Expedition League by a wide margin this year, but the Moo were held to just one extra-base hit in the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks’ 7-4 victory, moving their record to 10-13 on the year.
Ronny Piepmeier was able to control things on the mound in the early innings, getting key ground balls and even striking out Expedition home run leader Brock Reller, who had a large number of supporters in attendance.
In his six innings of work, Piepmeier gave up two runs on six hits and struck out three but was met with heavy swings as the game went on. Still, long fly balls would remain playable for the Jacks.
His work was even more impressive considering he was holding on to a two-run lead for most of it, with the Moo pushing hard to get back in the game.
“We kind of went into a little bit of a lull there in the middle of the game. Luckily enough in the seventh, we capitalized on a few mistakes of theirs,” said Laughlin.
In the seventh inning, every Whiskey Jack starter got a turn at the dish with five runs coming across to score. The two-run double off the left-field wall for Dean Bittner sealed the deal and Will Hlady recorded the save, only giving up a walk in the top of the ninth.
The offensive surge could have started much differently for the Jacks right off the bat. They scored two in the opening inning, but a blast off the top of the left-field wall from leadoff hitter Caleb McDowell resulted in just a single.
“He hit it and thought he hit it out. As soon as he went to first base he kind of had a ‘oh crap’ moment,” Laughlin joked. “It ended up working out okay though when he came around to score. Caleb is a good one, too, he’ll own up to it.”
Now the two teams are set to return tomorrow for a double-header with Jack Moffitt set to start game number one at 5:07 p.m. The Gonzaga University freshman has shown glimpses of greatness this year but struggled in some outings.
“Jack (Moffett), in my opinion, is probably one of the most talented pitchers in this league. He’s a bit different. A big 6’7” tall pitcher that will try to overpower guys,” said Laughlin.
The second game will commence 30 minutes after the opener.