For five innings Riverdogs starter Mike Taylor, a reliever at Southeast Missouri State, baffled Plaza Tire Capahas hitters Friday at Capaha Field.
The Capahas figured Taylor out in the sixth, and, thanks to seven hits and seven runs in the inning, Plaza Tire escaped with an 8-4 win.
Plaza Tire moved to 6-0 against the Riverdogs this season and 12-6 overall.
"I think they're getting better," Capahas manager Jess Bolen said. "The Riverdogs look like they're getting better all the time. I thought Mike Taylor threw great. I think he's going to be a good pitcher for Southeast."
Taylor allowed just three hits over the first five innings. The only rough spot for Taylor came in the third, when he induced a bases-loaded double play off the bat of Dustin Pritchett to end the inning.
In the sixth, Pritchett opened the inning with a single. Levi Olson and Tom Bolen followed with singles to load the bases. Taylor struck out Jamie McAllister but brought in a run with a wild pitch. Josh Ford followed with a two-run double, which got the ball rolling.
"I think Josh Ford's hit was the key hit for us," Bolen said. "Your players will follow if you can get someone to step up and get that solid line-drive hit, and we weren't getting it. Josh got it tonight."
Scott Hubbard was hit by a pitch following Ford's double, and Zach Johnson chased Taylor with an RBI single to tie the score at 4-4. Robby Moore miraculously got a squeeze bunt down on a fastball at his eyes off reliever Tim Davis, and he reached first when the Riverdogs failed to cover the bag. Pritchett, who opened the inning, finished off the scoring with a two-run double off the wall.
"We swung the bats well tonight, we played good defense and pitched well," Riverdogs co-coach Robin Minner said. "We just had one bad inning, but it was a bad one with seven runs."
Matt Stroup and two relievers held the Riverdogs the rest of the way to finish off the victory. Stroup struck out nine to help overcome five walks and 10 hits in seven innings for the win.
Shayn Mabury and Josh Parham each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
"Usually he doesn't have that problem," Bolen said of Stroup's control issues. "Usually he's right there on the money. But Matt's a competitor."
Luke McMahan led the Riverdogs with four hits. Chris Bradshaw added two hits, and Billy Palmer added two RBIs.
After three blowout losses to the Capahas early in the season, the Riverdogs have not lost by more than four runs in the last three meetings. Minner said his squad is not out for moral victories, though.
"We're out here to compete, we're out here to win," he said. "We didn't win tonight, but we gave it a good effort."
Pritchett led the Capahas with three hits. Bolen and Johnson added two apiece. Pritchett and Ford had two RBIs apiece.
With a lineup still without injured Seth Hudson and Chris Gibson, Bolen said the Capahas will have to continue to scrap out wins with strong pitching and defense.
"We're just not a powerful ball club," Bolen said. "We don't have a lot of dangerous hitters in the bottom of the order. But we're pitching pretty decent."
The Riverdogs will host the Chicago Titans tonight at Charleston, while the Capahas will play host to the Titans on Sunday.