By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Two painful innings spelled doom for the Joplin Outlaws on Wednesday night.
The Nevada Griffons struck for seven runs in the second and six more in the sixth in handing the Outlaws a 17-7 loss at JayCee Ballpark during the second annual fundraiser for the Tyler Jeck Foundation.
“You don’t want to have a game like this on a night like this,” Outlaws coach Rob Vessell said. “But that’s baseball. We had some defensive miscues and we didn’t get a quality start. Those things happen.”
After a perfect first inning, Adam Bax ran into all kind of trouble after throwing a groundout to start the second.
A pair of singles sandwiched a walk to load the bases before Cal Hogan doubled past third to score two runs. Two errors, a pair of walks and an Alex Lang single led to five more runs before the inning was over.
Nevada’s Marcus Ethan, a University of Nebraska-Omaha sophomore, held the Outlaws at bay during his six innings on the mound. The 6-foot-2 right hander allowed three runs — all in the fifth — on seven hits. He struck out just two but got the Outlaws to ground out 10 times, including a 5-4-3 double play in the third.
Ethan was also backed by a stellar Griffons defense.
Hogan made a spectacular leaping grab of Max Ayoub’s liner at third to lead off the fourth inning while center fielder Michael Douglas had a pair of impressive grabs.
Joplin momentarily made things interesting with a three-run fifth that cut the Nevada lead to four runs.
Matt Turner led off with a single before Joseph Gardner doubled. Nick Moore then tripled past a diving David Chew in right field to drive them home. Zac Stewart’s sacrifice fly drove Chew home.
But Nevada stuck for six more runs in the sixth to effectively put the game out of reach. The Griffons took advantage of two more Joplin errors in the inning.
“That sixth inning was huge in the game,” Vessell said. “We get a few runs and get back into it and then we have a chance at a double play and we boot it and they end up scoring six. You can’t give a team like Nevada extra outs. They hit the ball too well for that.”
Joplin scored three more times in the bottom of the ninth to move the final deficit to 10 runs.
“I’m proud of the way we swung the bats,” Vessell said. “Even down that much late in the game, we continued to take good swings.
“It’s really disappointing any time you put up a seven-spot and still come out on the losing end. Hopefully we can get one (tonight.)”
The two teams meet again tonight, and again both will be on the road. They play at 5 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark., the home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Kansas City Royals’ double-A affiliate.