Although his team had just earned its third victory of the season, Houston coach Brent Hall was unhappy. He huddled his players just outside the dugout and voiced his displeasure.
“I was a little upset after the game, especially the way they ran the bases and not making adjustments at the plate,” Hall said after the Tigers downed Thayer 8-4 Tuesday afternoon. “They can’t be told by the coach all the time to do it.”
Houston led 6-0 after four innings, but the advantage could have been bigger. The Tigers made a couple baserunning blunders and only had four hits after banging out seven in the first two innings.
Thayer rallied within two runs before the Tigers scored a pair of insurance runs to hold on.
Hall said he’d take the victory any way he can get it, but he sees issues that may haunt Houston (3-3) down the road.
“We played pretty well early,” Hall said. “But I felt like overall we didn’t play as well mentally, especially running the bases, and we don’t make adjustments at the plate. We hit the ball in the air a lot and pulled our heads a little bit.”
The Tigers had room for error with staff ace Kyle Poynter throwing seven dominating innings. Poynter allowed five hits and four runs – all in the fourth inning – and struck out 13 batters while walking two.
Poynter was most impressive late, fanning five of the final six batters he faced as he pushed past 100 pitches.
“Kyle is a competitor, just like I would expect anybody to be in that situation,” Hall said. “I’d want them to be a bulldog and try to take the game over themselves. Kyle did that.”
Seven different batters had at least one hit for the Tigers, led by Chris Mooney’s 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored. Caleb Smith, who knocked in a pair of runs, Kaleb Poynter and David Foster had two hits each.
Kyle Poynter pushed the game’s first run across the plate with a first-inning RBI single inside the third-base line that scored Mooney.
The bottom of the Tigers’ lineup started a four-run rally in the second. Eli Smith was hit by a pitch before Kaleb Poynter and Foster singled. Foster’s bloop hit scored Mooney.
After No. 9 hitter Jacob Case’s sacrifice bunt, Houston got consecutive RBI singles from David Weybright, Mooney and Caleb Smith.
Houston’s Nos. 6-9 hitters were a combined 5-for-12 with three runs scored.
“One of the strong points of our team is hitting the ball,” Hall said. “Any time you can get the bottom half of the order hitting and turn the lineup over to your so-called better hitters, it’s going to play a part in big innings.”
Thayer didn’t get its first hit until the top of the fourth inning when a line drive eluded Weybright in center for a triple. A sacrifice fly scored the Bobcats’ first run, and four consecutive hits pulled Thayer within 6-4.
Eli Smith brought a run home in the bottom of the fourth with a RBI double that scored courtesy runner Brandon Belt.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the fifth and got a single run on a RBI groundout by J.R. Knetzer.
“I feel good about this team,” Hall said. “The teams we’ve lost to are quality teams.”
ths ab r h bi hhs (3-3) ab r h bi
Crase lf 2 1 0 0 Wybrght cf 2 2 1 1
Risner ss 4 0 1 0 Mooney ss 4 2 3 1
Eckman c 4 1 1 1 CSmith c 3 0 2 2
Ary 3b 3 1 1 1 Belt cr 0 1 0 0
Martin p 3 0 0 0 KyPytr p 3 0 1 1
Tate 1b 3 0 1 1 Knetzer 1b 4 0 0 1
Foley rf 3 0 0 0 ESmith 3b 2 1 1 1
Coffel 2b 3 1 1 0 KaPytr 2b 4 1 2 0
Henry dh 2 0 1 1 DFoster lf 4 1 2 1
Case rf 2 0 0 0
Totals 27 4 5 4 Totals 28 8 11 8
2B: Eckman, ESmith. 3B: Coffel. SB: Belt, KaPoynter. CS: Knetzer. SAC: Case. SF: Henry.
Thayer 000 040 0 – 4 5 2
Houston 140 111 x – 8 11 1
thayer ip h r er bb so
Martin, L 6 11 8 8 3 3
houston ip h r er bb so
KyPoynter, W 7 5 4 4 2 13
HBP: Crase (by KyPoynter), ESmith 2 (by Martin).