Riverdogs notch win over Pros

Monday, June 28, 2004

The Cape Girardeau Riverdogs used a fast start and a strong finish to ease past the upstart St. Louis Pros Sunday night.

A four-run first inning proved decisive as the Riverdogs posted an 8-2 victory at Capaha Field.

The Riverdogs, who split a Saturday doubleheader at Valmeyer, Ill., improved to 7-9 by beating a squad that featured several high school age players.

"It's always nice to win, and we had a good weekend by winning two out of three," said Riverdogs co-coach Robin Minner. "The team we played was a little ragged and made some errors, but after the first inning we didn't do much with them."

The Pros helped out the Riverdogs with six errors as only three of their eight runs were earned.

Cape had nine hits, led by Billy Palmer's 3-for-5 performance. He was the only Riverdogs player with more than one hit. Josh Ivy added a triple and drove in two runs, Ryne Wood doubled and Shane Gibson scored twice.

Riverdogs starter Tyler Nelson overcame some wildness to pick up the victory. In five-plus innings, he allowed three hits and one run while striking out four, walking four and hitting three batters.

The only run Nelson allowed came in the third inning and was tainted, although earned, as the Riverdogs botched a rundown that allowed a St. Louis player to return safely to third base, from where he eventually scored.

"Tyler didn't have nearly his best stuff, but he battled, and they shouldn't have even scored the one run off him," Minner said.

Matt Davis earned a well-deserved save as he replaced Nelson in the sixth inning and worked the final four frames, allowing three hits and one run while striking out eight and walking one.

"Matt came in and did a heck of a job," Minner said.

One of the keys to the triumph was the job Davis did in the sixth inning as the Riverdogs led 5-1 but appeared to be in some trouble.

Nelson walked leadoff batter Noah Gray and had a 2-0 count on Kelly Porter when Davis came in to pitch. He completed Nelson's walk to Porter, then Eric Roth reached on an error to load the based with nobody out. But Davis struck out Don Lambert and Ron Ballard, then got Paul Miles on a ground out to escape unscathed.

"When they had the bases loaded and nobody out and didn't score, that was probably the game right there," Minner said.

The Riverdogs jumped on the Pros right away with their four-run first inning, using three hits and three errors as all the runs were unearned. The Riverdogs added a run in the second and broke the game open with a three-run seventh.

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