TERRE HAUTE —
The Springfield Sliders mounted an unlikely rally with a seven-run seventh inning in a game that the Terre Haute Rex had complete control over through six innings.
Will Robinson had a no-hitter for 4 1/3 innings, and Terre Haute had built a 6-0 lead by capitalizing on eight Springfield walks through six innings.
The base-on-balls eventually came back to haunt the Sliders, who walked five more Rex batters in the eighth. The Rex made them pay with four runs, Nick Johnson picking up the game-tying RBI with a — you-guessed it — walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Kyle Kempf pushed his average toward the .400 mark with a two-run single to give the Rex the win.
Terre Haute’s 10-8 victory extends its hold on first place in the Prospect League’s West Division.
It wasn’t without another rally attempt by the Sliders, however. Springfield put runners on first and third with two outs in the ninth, but recently-added Rex reliever Grant Reifers came on to get the final out, a strikeout of Ryan Aper.
Terre Haute’s Michael Eberle earned himself a start for Monday night’s game with a three-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning that helped the Rex tie the score in Sunday’s game
Eberle made a bid for more playing time with his performance Monday, going 3 for 4 with double and an RBI-single.
A night after collecting four hits, Kempf stayed hot for the Rex, putting the home team ahead 1-0 in the first with a single through the left side of the Springfield infield.
Then Eberle drilled a one-out double to left-center field, scoring with two outs when Edmund Cheatham fought off a two-strike pitch from Springfield starter Zach Wittmus with a dribbler in front of the plate for an infield single to score Eberle.
The Rex left the bases loaded in the third, but the labor that Springfield starter Zach Wittmus went through meant his day on the mound was done early.
The game was played under protest. Springfield manager Pete Romero was thrown out of the game in the ninth when Rex manager Brian Dorsett made a pitching change to remove Clay Manering. Dorsett wanted to bring in Reifers but Romero argued, to no avail, that he cannot make two visits to the mound without the current pitcher throwing a pitch.