Generals waste Hansen's strong start
Aug. 4, 2011 at 3:04 a.m.
Another strong start from a Victoria Generals pitcher disappeared like the adult beverages on margarita night. This time, it was Sam Hansen who provided a quality start and did not earn a decision.
Though he was not in line for a win after giving up three earned runs in six innings of work, the outing kept the Generals close enough to get some extended looks at seventh inning pitching in Wednesday's game against the Coppell Copperheads.
"That last few outings (our starters) have been big, especially with the 12 innings last night our bullpen was worn down," said Generals coach Ryan Wagner about Hansen's outing. "The guys going out putting in six and seven innings is huge -not just for the game, but for future games."
However, a four-run rally with two outs in the top of the eighth against the Victoria bullpen allowed the visitors to take a lead that turned into an 8-7 victory. After going a combined 0-9 in their first three trips to the plate Coppell's first three hitters combined for four runs in six combined plate appearances.
Victoria's Grayson Porter dropped what would have been the third out in the top of the eighth. The next pitch from Covey Morrow was lined into left-center field by Nick Smelser for a go-ahead double. Smelser's first hit of the night gave Coppell the lead.
"Smelser's hit was the big one," said Coppell manager Marty Haynie. "(Morrow) is their knock over artist. We've had trouble against him just like the rest of the league. For Smelser to get that two-run hit for us to believe was big."
With both teams separated by percentage points the two-game series is critical for both sides as they vie for the third, of four possible, berths in the TCL.
Victoria led 7-4 entering the eighth inning after roughing up on Coppell reliever Sam Friend. Four of the five batters Friend faced reached base, and each came around to score.
Just as Friend reared back to deliver a 1-0 pitch to Villalobos in the bottom of the seventh Generals PA announcer Jonathan Williams said it was an apropos time for the second baseman to hit his fifth home run of the year. On cue, Villalobos hit a towering fly ball just inside the left field foul pole for said home run-and more importantly a 6-4 Generals lead.
"We took quality at bats," Wagner said. "At that point we went up there with a plan, we hit the ball the other way. We came up there that inning with a fire."
With Coppell (13-8) a game ahead of the Generals (13-10) in the second half that burning desire will have to carry the Generals as they head into the Thursday's conclusion of the two-game series.