PROVIDENCE– Looking to keep its perfect league record intact, the Providence Wolverines suffered their first league loss of the season, an 8-4 setback Tuesday against the Smithfield Blue Sox.
“It’s a good win,” Smithfield head coach Vic Bingham said. “That’s a very good team and any time we can beat those guys we’ll take it. I thought we played pretty well, we had some young guys playing in some crucial spots and they played well.”
The bats came alive quickly for Smithfield.
A 1-out single put Shawn Olsen on first, and two batters later Jordan Hansen sent the first pitch he saw over the fence in centerfield for a 2-0 lead.
The onslaught continued in the third as Wolverines’ starting pitcher Craig Brimhall struggled to find the strike zone. Brimhall walked back-to-back batters with nine pitches, bringing Chance Randall to the plate for the Blue Sox.
With two outs and runners on runners at second and third, Randall grounded a ball to Providence second-baseman Brad Singer, who fielded the ball cleanly and made the throw to Justin Peterson at first base. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Peterson was unable to hold on to the throw and two runs scored on the play.
“Jordan’s two home runs, Todd (Barr) drove in a few, we had some balls of the wall, guys were hitting well tonight,” Bingham said. “We’re pretty used to that. We’ve got a busy week so we’ll have to keep playing well.”
The Blue Sox kept pouring it on, adding two more runs in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth. Dallen Godfrey was hit by a pitch, Randall walked, and Barr ripped a 2-out double to the wall in centerfield for a 6-0 lead.
The lead grew to 8-0 when Barr recorded his third and fourth RBIs of the night.
Trailing big, Providence cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on a 2-out 2-RBI double to right centerfield from Dustin Smith. Jeff Schiffman and Dex Bowen scored on the play for the Wolverines. Down to its last three outs in the bottom of the seventh, Providence had one last surge left.
A leadoff home run from Nate Wease made it 8-3, and the Wolverines loaded the bases with one out, after two walks and a single from Peterson. Providence pushed another run across on a fielder’s choice groundout, leaving two runners on with two outs and the top of the order coming up.
However, it was too little too late for Providence as Smithfield relief pitcher Kyle Anderson came in to get the final two outs and preserve the win.
Blue Sox starting pitcher Cody Garrett gave up eight hits, struck out six, and walked four to earn the win, while Brimhall took the loss after giving up seven hits with seven strikeouts and five walks.
“We’ve been in a slump for a while and we finally came out and got the swings going,” Godfrey said. “I got into a groove on the mound, I felt good. It helped that I scattered the walks out and got some (strikeouts).”
Smithfield is now 18-6 overall, and 5-3 in league play, while Providence dropped to 10-2 overall and 8-1 in league play.
Up next for the Blue Sox is a date with Tremonton, while the Wolverines host another Cache Valley rival in the Logan Royals. Both games are scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.