By John Bohnenkamp
Spencer Nivens’ three-run home run that rattled the scoreboard in the eighth inning put some life into the Burlington Bees.
The top of the ninth, though, silenced everyone.
Illinois Valley scored just five runs on two hits in an inning that Bees manager Owen Oreskovich said went “haywire”, and the Pistol Shrimp held on for a 13-8 win in Wednesday’s Prospect League game at Community Field.
Illinois Valley (16-11) took advantage of an error, three walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches — one of which allowed two runs to score.
“It’s just tough,” Oreskovich said, searching for words. “That’s just tough. It didn’t go our way today. Those things happen, but … that’s a tough one. That one hurts a little bit.”
The inning started when Illinois Valley’s Zach Lane hit a popup into short right field that second baseman Tucker Cole tried to track down. The ball hit off Cole’s glove, and Lane reached second base.
“That’s a tough play, especially at night,” Oreskovich said. “Everything started from there.”
Only one of the hits in the inning, a single by Dio Cornet, drove in a run.
Bees starting pitcher Osvaldo Mendez allowed two hits and two runs in the first two innings, but left the game after Oreskovich said he was feeling “tight.”
Cauy Massner gave up six runs in three innings. Nick Tampa (0-1), who pitched a perfect seventh and eighth inning, was charged with two runs. Kyle Maurer, who relieved Tampa in the ninth, gave up three runs.
The Bees (10-16) had 13 hits. Leadoff hitter Sam Monroe had two hits and scored twice. Nivens, who had four hits, scored four times. Eight of the nine Burlington starters had hits, and all nine reached base.
Illinois Valley led 8-5 going into the bottom of the eighth. Cole and Trey Adams had back-to-back walks to start the inning. After Monroe struck out, Nivens pounded his home run to right field, his second homer at Community Field in as many games.
“I thought our offense was really good today,” Oreskovich said. “Up and down the order. They gave us a chance to win the game. We just had to get it done on the mound.”
Eben Heine (1-0) was the winning pitcher.
ON DECK: The two teams play a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday at Community Field.
NOTES: Nivens extended his hitting streak to seven games. Nivens, who is hitting .300 for the season, is batting .355 in the streak. … Monroe is on a six-game hitting streak. He is hitting .333 in the streak. … Bees third baseman Oscar Ponce has a five-game hitting streak. … Bees first baseman Ryan Grace is batting .484 over the last nine games.
Photo: Spencer Nivens connects on his eighth-inning home run. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)