By John Bohnenkamp
The Burlington Bees had put together a three-run third inning and had a lead for the first time in Friday’s game against the Quincy Gems.
The answer in the top of the fourth bothered Bees manager Owen Oreskovich.
The Gems scored six runs on just two hits, taking advantage of six walks in the inning, and rolled to an 11-4 win in the Prospect League game at Community Field.
“We needed to go out there and fill it up right away,” Oreskovich said. “That’s kind of one of my pet peeves that I hate to see. I mean, hits happen. You can’t control those. Throw (pitches) over the plate, I’m fine with giving up hits. But walks are a killer. You’ve got to throw it up, let someone make a play. You’ve got seven guys behind you.”
The first five hitters of the inning reached against starter Jared Townsend (1-2). Reliever C.J. Lewis got the first out of the inning on Ethan Moore’s sacrifice fly, then walked the next three hitters before finally getting out of the inning.
The Bees’ offense, which had scored just two runs in the last two games, helped produce a 4-3 lead in the third. Joey Fitzgerald’s single scored Kevin Santiago, then Ryan Grace and Fitzgerald scored on a throwing error by Gems shortstop Andrew Fay.
“I thought we competed a lot better in the box,” Oreskovich said. “A lot of our guys hit some balls pretty well. I thought we looked a lot better in the box tonight.”
Oreskovich had worked with several hitters in pre-game batting practice.
“I thought we looked a lot better,” he said.
The Bees finished with seven hits, but they left 10 baserunners.
Brayden Haug (1-1) was the winning pitcher.
HAWKEYE BATTERY: The ninth inning featured a Bees’ battery of Iowa players — pitcher Weston Fulk and catcher Ben Tallman.
Fulk, who has primarily been a first baseman and designated hitter this season, had the night off from hitting, but Oreskovich planned on using him out of the bullpen.
Fulk, making his second pitching appearance of the season, allowed two runs on two hits, walking two and striking out two.
“Ideally, what we were doing was using him in a closing role, but we haven’t had too many of those opportunities,” Oreskovich said. “I knew he was sitting today, and he knew it too, so we basically said you’re going to throw today no matter what.”
ON DECK: The Bees and Gems play a 6:35 p.m. game Saturday in Quincy. Paolo Zavala (0-1) will start for the Bees.
NOTES: Bees center fielder Spencer Nivens went 2-for-5. He has reached base in his first four games this week since joining the team on Monday. … Santiago had his four-game hitting streak snapped.
Photo: Burlington Bees starter Jared Townsend delivers a pitch in Friday’s game against Quincy. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)