Miller Express third baseman Geordie McDougall grabs a ball just in foul territory during Tuesday night's 7-2 loss to the Melville Millionaires. (Photo: Marc Smith)
After scoring 28 runs in two games over the weekend, the Moose Jaw Miller Express were due for a slow down from the team's bats.
It happened on Tuesday night as the Millers dropped a 7-2 game to the Melville Millionaires at Ross Wells Park. The loss puts Moose Jaw at 4-2 this season in the Western Canadian Baseball League.
"We were hitting the balls on the screws early and it was right at somebody and you just knew it was one of those days," said Millers head coach Rich Sorensen.
Moose Jaw matched Melville with six hits, but the Millers stranded runners on base in six of the first seven innings, including leaving four runners in scoring position.
The Millers couldn't get that hit that swung momentum in their favour.
"It was tough, we really put a lot of good swings on balls that just seemed to be right at people and I guess some days it doesn’t bounce our way and we're just going to learn from it," said third baseman Geordie McDougall.
"You just try not to change much, if you look at the box score, you might see a guy went 0-for-4 but he might have had 3-4 hard barrels in a game so really just try to take as many positives as you can from the night and move forward."
Millers catcher Cole Warken broke up the Millionaires' shutout in the ninth inning with a two-run home run to left field. It was too little, too late for the Millers after Melville had increased its lead to 7-0 with three runs in the top half of the inning.
Moose Jaw starter Jeff Nicolosi was lights out through the first three innings, sitting down Melville in order in all three frames. But the Millionaires were able to get to him in the fourth as a single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases.
DH Cody Goggins cashed in two runs for Melville to open the scoring.
Sorensen said the Millers struggled to find the strike zone in the game and that ended up costing them.
"Jeff did a real job in the first three innings, he laid down the first nine hitters but then a couple of walks here or there and that was the difference in the game, so our pitchers have to throw more strikes, they need to have more command and trust their stuff a little bit better," said Sorensen.
"We know that sometimes we're not going to hit, but if you pitch and play defence, you can be in every game, but today we didn't pitch and field that well."
Nicolosi allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in four innings with one strikeout. Nick Falco followed him up, allowing one unearned run on one hit and three walks in two innings.
Nico Portillo finished the final three innings, allowed four runs -- two earned -- on three hits and five walks. He struck out one.
At the plate, Darrell Doll was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored and a walk.
Emotions were running high throughout the game due to a loud and talkative dugout from the Millionaires. The Millers weren't able to hurt Melville on the scoreboard, but McDougall said it motivates them for next game.
"There's a certain way to play the game with class and they might have been lacking it tonight, but we're just going to keep playing hard no matter who we're playing against," said McDougall.
Sorensen said he liked how his team handled the situation, "It's the sixth game of the season and they were playing like it was Game 7 of the World Series and our guys handled it very well," he said.
The Millers will look to bounce back when they take on the 57s (3-3) in Swift Current on Wednesday night. First pitch is at 7 p.m