O’FALLON – The pitch that provided a 3-1 start in the Southwestern Conference for Alton Redbirds baseball did not make the bus ride to O’Fallon.
The O’Fallon Panthers scored often early to beat the Redbirds 12-5 Monday at Blazier Field. O’Fallon, who has 10 of his last 11 meetings with the Redbirds, improves to 7-5, 1-2 in SWC. Alton falls to 6-5, 3-2 in the conference with his winning streak broken to four in a row.
Alton beat in the lead in the first inning with James Vambaketes’ debut single becoming a run over Owen Macias RBI single. But the Panthers responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, four runs in the second and five in the third to put the Redbirds 12-1.
The Redbirds made five mistakes that led six of O’Fallon’s 12 points scored without winning. Alton’s pitching had posted a 0.90 ERA in his first four SWC games – skewed by four-set 18-0 and 22-0 losses to East St. Louis – which included a 2-1 split with Belleville West.
But O’Fallon hit six different Redbirds pitchers for 10 hits while shooting eight goals. Starter Owen Macias took the loss, giving up three runs on three hits, two walks and one strikeout before resuming after an inning.
The Redbirds avoided a loss in five innings by scoring three runs in the fourth inning in singles by Jackson Brooks and Preston Schepers, two steps and two of O’Fallon’s four errors.
Alton reliever Ian Barnard delivers to plate in a scoreless fourth inning against O’Fallon in a SWC baseball game on Monday at Blazier Field in O’Fallon.
O’Fallon’s Kellen Scruggs dives back into the sack as Alton first baseman Owen Macias (10) can’t get a high and wide pitch Monday at Blazier Field in O’Fallon.
Left-hander Alton Ian Barnard came out of the bullpen to stop the Panthers’ goal streak with a scoreless fourth inning. But the Redbirds’ wait for their first victory at Blazier Field since 2011 remains unanswered.
Zach Rhein took the win for O’Fallon, giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Andrew Barbee hit a Redbird and walked three in three innings of relief without a hit for the save. Kellen Scruggs had two hits and three RBIs, Will Millard and Jacob Hahs both had two hits and Kendall Brookins and Corey Quintal both had two runs for the Panthers.
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