Four-game skid has Rock baffled in district play
Falling behind 7- 0 in the early going, the Tigers were subsequently blanked 11- 0 Tuesday night by District 23- 3A co-leader LaGrange at Tiger Field.
Losing its fourth straight and five of its last six, Rockdale slips to 14-10 on the season and 2-5 in loop play.
LaGrange remains a coleader in district play at 16-4, and 6-1, tied with a surprising Caldwell (13-8, 6-1) team.
With three games left in the regular season, the Tigers find themselves two games out of third place.
“ Three straight one r un losses in district is a tough pill to swallow,” said Rockdale Coach Clay Cox after the loss to Smithville Saturday. “We have been in every game, we just have to find a way to come out firing on all cylinders and not having to get out of a hole.
“The opportunity for playoffs is still there. We are one game out of the third place spot and just have to really kick it in to gear these last four games”
Playing third game in seven days due to rescheduling, the Tigers were limited to four hits by LaGrange starter Weston Wick who also fanned 11 Tigers.
Meanwhile, Wick was getting plenty of help from his teammates at the plate, touching two Rockdale pitchers for 13 hits.
Three Leopards had three hits each and third baseman Trey Supak was 2-for-4 with four runs batted in, including a double.
Dillon Goodman, Zach Garza, Stephen Ehler and Tate Pounders had one hit each.
Ehler and Pounders singles came in the sixth inning as the Tigers tried to mount a rally.
Duke Schneider (2-2) took the loss after allowing 10 hits, while striking out eight.
LaGrange defeated Rockdale 11-3 in the first round of district play.
As has been their downfall lately, the Tigers found themselves trailing very early in another 6-5 loss to Smithville on the road, to open the second half of district play.
“Once again we put ourselves in a 4-0 hole after two innings and had to fight to get back out,” Cox said. “When you look at the last five innings we put up five runs to their two.
“We had opportunities in the sixth and the seventh with bases loaded, but couldn’t quite get it done”
The Tigers (9-7, 3-3) jumped on Rockdale starter Tate Pound- ers for four runs in the first and second innings as his teammates committed six errors behind him.
Pounders—who has thrown two no-hitters this season and three in his career—handled Smithville in the late innings in suffering his first loss of the year against four victories.
The big righthander allowed just five hits, while striking out eight batters.
Rockdale posted three runs in the top of the third to strike back, led by Brinkley’s two-run double.
Pounders helped his own cause with a pair of hits and an RBI as the Tigers tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh to close the gap to 6-5.
“Our pitching staff has done a great job to this point,” Cox said. “You feel like five runs with our guys should get it done. We have to take care of a few miscues in the field and continue to hit the ball.
“We have out hit our opponent the past two games, we just need to string those together and get a timely hit or two. You do that and any of the past three games could have gone the other way”
Trailing 4-0 after the second inning, the Tigers chipped away at the lead before falling 6-5 at Tiger Field “We dug ourselves in an early hole and had to climb back out,” said Cox “We had nine hits in the game, we just didn’t string them together and get the timely hit we needed.”
The Rattlers (5-8, 2-4) figured out starter Brinkley from the outset as the first four batters reached base with a hit, including Will Imhoff’s leadoff home run over the left field fence.
Navasota used a run scoring triple from Jacob Mallon to extend its lead to 4-0 in the Rattlers second trip to the plate.
The Tigers began to eat away at the deficit, sparked by Skubal’s second inning solo blast and his second of the year to make it 4-1.
Stewart stroked a single to left to drive home Gibbs, who had singled to make it 4-2.
Rockdale pulled to within 5-4 in the fifth after Gibbs whipped a double to right-center to score Goodman who reached on an error and then Stewart’s infield single plated Gibbs.
Kirk’s double chased Navasota starter Preston Neumann and he scored on Duke Schneider’s single to center to make the final 6-5.
The Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the seventh.
After the shaky start, Brinkley settled in despite suffering his first loss against three wins.
The junior lefthander allowed eight hits, with six of those coming against the first 12 batters.
Gibbs went 3-for-4 at the plate with the triple, while Stewart was 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.
ROCKDALE STATISTICS HITTING—Brinkley 24-61 .393; Ehler 15-43 .349; Pounders 18-58 .310; Skubal 15-48 .310; Schneider 10-27 .370; Stewart 18-54 .333; Goodman 26-75 .347; Gibbs 17-60 .283; Garza 9-33 .273; Kirk 15-49 .306; Caffey 13-56 .232; McCartney 2-10 .200. Runs—Goodman 20, Brinkley 18 RBI–Brinkley 20, Pounders 16 2B—Brinkley 4, Skubal 4 3B—Gibbs 3, Stewart 2 HR—Pounders 1, Stewart 1 SB—Gibbs 12, Brinkley 10 Pitching—Pounders 4- 1 2,54; Brinkley 3-1 3.09; Skubal 2-1 5.68; Schneider 2-2 5.29; Stewart 2-2 3.71; Gibbs 1-2 4.50.
|Rockdale||5; Caldwell||8,||Giddings 1;|