Clutch, two-out hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position was what the Moose Jaw Miller Express did well in their two wins to open the season.
They did in the first four innings against the Edmonton Prospects on Thursday night as well, but the bats went cold after that in a 12-7 loss to open a two-game set at Ross Wells Park.
Moose Jaw jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings, but they proceeded to leave the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings, while the Prospects poured on eight runs – including seven in the sixth – to take the lead and eventually the win.
“Those are key situations to try and score runs, especially with less than two outs, but we'll be in those situations again and these guys know what's expected of them and it will be different,” said Moose Jaw head coach Michael Hunt after the loss, which dropped his team's record to 2-1 on the year.
“It certainly seemed like we took the foot off the gas a little bit, but we're an offensive club when we can be and tomorrow will be a new day.”
Rusty Edwards was in control through five innings, having surrendered just two runs on four hits with four strikeouts, but the Prospects were able to get to him in the sixth.
After sitting down two of the first three batters in the inning, Edwards lost his control and proceeded to walk the next two batters to load the bases before Mackenzie Parlow brought in two runs with a single.
Drake Biggins doubled in two more runs before Edwards was lifted for Connor Keating. The inning would end with Edmonton up 9-6.
Looking back on the inning, Hunt said he expected Edwards to be able to get out of the inning after getting two quick outs.
“Hindsight 20/20, you don't expect that kind of stuff to happen with two outs, just find a ground ball,” he said. “He started losing a little bit of control, so we had to make a change. He had a great 5.1 innings, but just lost it a little bit at the end.”
Edwards finished the night with eight runs against on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks, all coming in the sixth inning. Connor Keating gave up one run on three hits in a third of inning.
Josh Janzen made his third appearance for Moose Jaw, going three innings, giving up three runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
While the offence struggled for Moose Jaw over the final five innings, they had everything working early.
Derek Cornell set an early tone with a lead-off double in the first and he eventually came around to score on an RBI-single from Miles Hunter. Andrew Solomon followed that up with a two-run line drive home run to left field for an early 4-0 lead.
A two-run home run from Stinnett added to that lead in fourth inning.
“It was a first pitch fastball and I felt like I barrelled it,” said Stinnett after the game. He finished two-for-five on the night with a double and two RBI.
“We were hoping for the win, but we let up on them,” he added. “We struggled with runners in scoring position, where as they flourished. All their hits weren't hard hits, but they found the holes.”
Lead-off hitter Derek Shedden led the Edmonton offence, going three-for-five with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Biggins and Parlow each had two RBI as well, while Nick Spillman finished three-for-three with four runs scored.
Emilio Foden picked up the win on the mound, throwing three innings of relief with one run against on four hits. Cory Duggan got a no-decision, giving up six runs on eight hits over four innings in his second start of the year.
Moose Jaw and Edmonton will be back on the field on Friday night at Ross Wells Park. First pitch goes at 7:05pm, you can tune into the game live at mjmillerexpress.com.