By Lori Lyons, Rougarou Writer
A day after four pitchers combined on a no-hitter, the Baton Rouge Rougarou’s pitching got off to a shaky start on Thursday. The Rougarou let the Victoria Generals take an early 3-0 lead thanks to three walks, one hit and a hit batter. But that was all the Generals could generate as the Rougarou rallied for a 5-3 win at Pete Goldsby Field.
The Rougarou offense continued to shine, knocking 12 hits off of three Generals pitchers, who also walked eight. Austin O’Malley led the charge on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored. Will Safford, Josh Shelly and Derrald Moore Jr. all had two hits. T.J. Grines and Moore both hit doubles.
“Linn started and had command issues in the first, but I stuck with him as we’ve been swinging the bats well the last two nights,” Rougarou coach Jeff “Rooster” Southall said. “Pitching has continued to keep us close through the first seven games and our offense is beginning to find itself. We’re getting some timely hits and establishing a running game with some stolen bases setting up our hitters to be more selective.”
The Generals scored three runs in the first inning on starting pitcher Kade Linn, who walked the first two batters, then the fourth, then hit one. But once he settled down, things got a lot more difficult for the Generals, who were held to five hits off of four pitchers and struck out 10 times.
Linn struck out five and walked one more in his three innings. Hunter Ponson relieved in the fourth and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits, three walks and striking out three for the win. Cowan Alfonso pitched two innings, striking out two and walking one; closer Hayden Oglesby gave up one hit, one walk and struck out one.
Down 3-0, Baton Rouge started its comeback in the fourth inning. Shelly and O’Malley got it started when they hit back-to-back singles. Mozell Little III walked to load the bases. Jason Hawkins grounded out to score Shelly and advance the runners. O’Malley scored on a grounder by Brady McGee. Little scored on a single by Davis Meche.
The Rougarou took the lead in the fifth when Shelly singled and O’Malley doubled to make it 4-3.
Baton Rouge added an insurance run in the eighth when Meche got a lead off walk and went to second on a groundout by Moore. T.J. Grines walked. Meche went to third on a wild pitch by Grines was caught stealing. Safford walked then Shelly was intentionally walked. Meche scored on a single by O’Malley.
The Rougarou travel to Seguin, Texas to take on the River Monsters Friday at 7 p.m. They travel to Victoria to face the Generals on Saturday then got to Brazos Valley on Sunday. It kicks off an eight-game stretch, which Southall said will be a real test for the club.
“The guys are starting to understand the grind of playing every day,” he said.