By: Adam Johnson
Game 1 vs. Lexington Snipes
Another game, another slugfest for the Hounds. This time out, DuPage saw their bats put up a total of 16 hits, which ultimately led them to the 10-7 win over the Snipes. Originally, it looked as if the Hounds were going to burry the Snipes and cruise to an easy win. However, Lexington refused to go away quietly knowing that the Hounds sit a mere three games ahead of them for first place. While entering the final inning down 10-3, the Snipes rallied to score four runs in the final frame to make it 10-7. Ultimately, their rally was cut short when what would have been the go-ahead run grounded out to third base with the bases loaded to end the game.
The speedy Joe Duncan continues his dominance from his familiar leadoff spot. He went three for four in the game with three singles, two RBIs and he stole his team-leading 18th stolen base of the year. Matt Wollnik followed immediately behind Duncan in the order and went two for four with two singles and a run batted in.
The Carrier brothers found themselves slotted in the three-four holes once again. Trent reached base three times in his four plate appearances on two walks and single. Shane went two for three with a walk and two singles. He also drove in one of the Hounds’ ten runs.
Ryan Fitzgerald continues to be the major run producer in the Hounds lineup. He went two for three with two singles while also driving in a game high three runs. His infield mate Richie Gorski followed him in the order and went two for three with two singles of his own.
With the intense July heat looming in Lemont, Ryan Taylor and Billy Hayes split the duties behind the plate. Taylor went one for three on the day with a single while Hayes reached base twice in his four at bats on two singles. Finally, Emerson Misch continued his hitting streak after going one for three on the day with a timely single that plated two Hounds base runners.
The Hounds handed the ball to front of the rotation man Nick Constantino to start the game. He continues to display his MCL dominance after going a solid five innings in which he allowed only three runs on five hits while striking out a season high ten batters. Nick McKinney came in to throw the final two frames where he quickly found himself in charge of fending off the late Snipe rally. He was billed for four runs, of which only one was earned, on five two hits while striking out one.
For Lexington, Cully Day and Jared McCunn were the two major run producers. Both batters went two for three at the plate and drove in three runs a piece. Owen Miller, Deion Thompson, Cale Robinson and Tyler Horchem all reached base once in their four at bats with a single.
The Snipes used a trio of pitchers for game one of the double header. Ross Learnard started the game and gave up five runs on nine hits over the first three innings. Next up was Kody Silverthorn who surrendered two runs on four hits while striking out two in his two innings of work. Finally, Travis Auer came on for the seventh and final inning and allowed three runs on three hits.
After the game one win, the Hounds pushed their winning streak to a seasons’ best eight games. However, they quickly saw the impressive streak fade after the outcome of the day’s second ballgame.
Game 2 vs. Lexington Snipes
Despite putting up 10 runs on 16 hits only a few hours before, the Hounds’ bats fell completely flat to start game two. Lexington jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first three innings. The Hounds one run came on one hit that happened to be a solo homerun in the second and they did not pick up another base hit until the sixth. However, it was in the bottom half of the seventh that their bats decided to wake up. DuPage rallied down 4-1 in what was supposed to be their final at bat to tie it up at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings. Despite many chances to capitalize with runners in scoring position, the Hounds were ousted by the Snipes 5-4 in ten innings.
Once again, Joe Duncan hit leadoff and went one for five with a double and a RBI. Hunter Morris locked down the catching duties for game two and went one for five at the plate with a single.
Ryan Fitzgerald slid up one spot into cleanup duty thanks to his explosive game one performance and his month-long hot streak. He ended up going two for five with a single and double. Dustin Krob was penciled in the game two lineup after getting a well deserved rest during game one. He we one for four on the day with a booming line-drive double.
Game two offensive MVP for the Hounds was once again Bobby Wenthe who hammered the ball to all parts of the field. Snipes’ pitching simply could not find a way to get him out, allowing him to go three for three with a single, double and a moon-shot home run. Emerson Misch saw his hit streak extend into game two thanks to his one for four performance that came on a double that drove in two key runs during the Hounds’ seventh inning rally.
Hounds’ ace Tom Concklin took the mound for game two where he put up another quality start. Although he did not put up his usual numbers, the Snipes did an excellent job of jumping on fastballs early in the count, limiting Concklin’s chance to throw his devastating off-speed pitches. His final line read six innings in which he gave up four runs on 11 hits while striking out two. DuPage’s usual shortstop Matt Wollnik was forced to throw the next four innings due to lack of pitching availability. Even though he was tagged with the loss, he gave the Hounds every opportunity to win. He surrendered one run on five hits while striking out two through his four solid innings of work.
For the Snipes, Cully Day continued his offensive dominance by going four for five with three singles as well as the game-winning double. Jason Priest was not far behind his teammate, going three for four with a single and two doubles. Owen Miller, Tyler Horchem and Jared McCunn all went two for five. Cale Robinson, Chris Maranto and Ryan Frye all reached base once in their five at bats.
Familiar face Reid Birlingmair started for the Snipes where he continued to shut down the Hounds’ lineup. He allowed only one run on one hit while striking out two over his five innings of work. Ian Hall came on to pitch the sixth where he allowed no runs on one hit. Jake Sale was the victim of the Hounds’ big seventh inning, although he ended up getting the win. He went the final four innings and gave up three runs on seven hits.
The Hounds (23-10) will continue their string of pivotal ballgames with their next contest coming against the NWI Oilmen (19-12) who sit only three games back of first thanks to their four-game win streak. That game will take place Sunday, July 19th at 4:00 PM (CT) at the Oilmen Stadium. The Oilmen currently lead the season series four games to two.
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