July 3, 2024 at 1:07 p.m.

Two big innings lead to Rockets win

Portland Rockets


MUNCIE — The Rockets had no problems scoring against the Chiefs in the first matchup of the year.

On the road, the Rockets took a while to get going.

The floodgates finally opened in the fourth inning, and the Rockets never looked back.

The Portland Rockets took advantage of a handful of pitching mistakes by the Muncie Chiefs on Tuesday, resulting in a dominant 17-4 victory.

The Rockets (10-12) got off to a slow start with the sticks. The only runners to reach base in the first two innings did so via walk or being hit by a pitch.

The first score for Portland came in a similar fashion. Aidyn Coffey got beamed by Jade Limbrock to start the third inning. He promptly swiped second base during the next at bat to move into scoring position. Coffey stole third base two batters later and made his way home on an error by catcher Cole Luedike to tie the game 1-1.

Limbrock’s lack of control came to bite the Chiefs hard in the fourth inning. He started the frame with a walk and two outs, but that didn’t stop the Rockets from putting together a rally.

Kenny Bailey smacked a single to right field for Portland’s first hit of the game, and a walk by Trey Pullins loaded the bases. Lambrock then hit back-to-back batters to score a pair of runs without Coffey or Cam Pratt needing to swing the bat. Limbrock gave up a third straight run for free by issuing a six-pitch walk to Peyton Smith.

Joel Kennedy followed up with a two-RBI single to right field, prompting Muncie to switch to Jay Dillmon on the mound. Dillmon surrendered back-to-back walks to give up the sixth run of the inning.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Blake Caldwell struck out on a pitch in the dirt that ended up being a passed ball, allowing Kennedy to score and the other three runners to advance safely. The Rockets boasted an 8-1 lead at the end of the frame.

Portland again scored a run on a walk in the fifth inning.

Doug Baty went to the mound in the sixth for the Chiefs, but suffered similar struggles to Lambrock and Dillmon.

Baty walked a pair of batters and gave up a single to Bailey to load the bases early. He then hit Coffey with a pitch to drive in a run before giving up back-to-back singles to Pratt and Smith to score a pair of runs.

Five of the next six batters drove in runs, including doubles by Gavin Gleason and Bailey and singles by Caldwell and Pullins. The inning only ended because of a base running error by Pullins.

Tyler Reynolds earned the win for the Rockets after throwing four innings with only two runs scored. He gave up five hits during his time on the bump, but struck out seven batters as well.

Varen Ridgway and Smith finished the game off with a combined seven punchouts, while giving up one earned run.

The Rockets will open the Portland Firecracker Classic today at 7 p.m. against the Spring Texas Armadillos at Runkle-Miller Field. A win would earn them a spot in Saturday’s semifinal at 4:30 p.m. and a loss bumps them to the bottom half of the bracket for a 2 p.m. start time.


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