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Big Sticks can't sweep Pierre as they struggle to plate runs

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Big Sticks pitcher Nick Flesher covers first base for Conner VanCleave after a ground ball was hit to first base. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)

The Badlands Big Sticks bats did their job putting the ball in play against the Pierre Trappers at home on Wednesday night, but one bad inning on the mound did them in and they never recovered.

Badlands took two of three in the series despite the 5-3 loss.

“We just couldn’t come up with the barrel when we had the opportunity to drive runs in,” Big Sticks head coach Billy Tomblin, said. “That is how you score runs. You have to find a barrel and drive them in and we didn’t do that tonight.”

The Big Sticks struck first as right fielder Mason Schwellenbach doubled scoring center fielder Carson Lundmark in the first, but shortly after, the top of the third inning spelled trouble for Badlands.

With starter Stu Flesland on the bump, he gave up four hits in a row and all four runs crossed home plate for Pierre.

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Third baseman Tyler Wiltshire doubled and then second baseman Michael Herrera singled, advancing Wiltshire to third. Catcher Alex Gonzales kept the hit streak alive with another single driving in Wiltshire to tie the game at 1-1, but then the big mistake for Flesland occurred.

Center fielder Nick Grossman took advantage and pounded a three-run shot out of the park putting Badlands behind 4-1.

“They had one big swing that carried out of the yard,” Tomblin said. “Stu did a nice job overall for us. He put us in a position to win and we didn’t take care of things offensively.”

Despite the four hits in the third inning, Badlands recorded 11 hits to Pierre’s seven.

Right fielder Niko Piazza went yard in the fifth frame extending the Trappers lead before the Big Sticks left fielder Eli Jung drove home catcher Logan Williams in the sixth.

Jung drove in another run in the eighth with a double that scored first baseman Conner VanCleave.

Badlands had a chance to tie in the bottom of the ninth, but shortstop Wyatt Setian struck out with a runner on first and designated hitter Clayton Hale grounded in a game ending double play.

Lundmark went 3-4 in the loss, while VanCleave had two hits and Jung had two RBI.

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Nick Flesher went four and two-thirds out of the bullpen giving up only one hit.

Badlands left 10 runners on base in the contest.

The Big Sticks have four more games in a row vs. Pierre as they take on the Trappers in South Dakota’s capital city on Thursday-Sunday.

“We have to be ready to play. We have to get on the bus tomorrow morning and head to Pierre and shake it out again,” Tomblin said. “That is the great thing about baseball. We get to go again tomorrow.”

Pierre: 004 010 000 570
Badlands: 100 001 010 3(11)0
W— Hayden Robbins L— Stu Flesland
BBS: Braden Cordes 1-5. Carson Lundmark 3-4, R, BB. Wyatt Setian 1-3, BB. Clayton Hale 1-5. Mason Schwellenbach 1-4, R, RBI. Conner VanCleave 2-3, R, BB. Logan Williams 1-3, BB. Eli Jung 1-2, 2BB. Gaylan Young 0-4.

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