QUINCY -- Facing a five-run deficit and with two outs down in the bottom of the ninth, the Quincy Gems were down to their last life.
DuPage poured on four runs in the top of the ninth to break open what was a one-run game, and Quincy needed a rally. Kyle Crowl started the two-out rally by drawing a walk, then Tim Borden II brought Crowl around for a run with a stand-up double into right field. Cade Schares then hit a blooper between left and center field to score Borden, but Schares was caught trying to extend his hit to a double and the Gems' rally came to an end, giving the Pistol Shrimp a 6-3 Prospect League victory Saturday at QU Stadium.
That was the story all night for Quincy (18-16), as the Gems didn't make any big mistakes, but they did falter enough to allow DuPage (18-14) to take sole possession of second place in the West Division standings.
"Some of those things are just unacceptable," Gems manager Pat Robles said. "Right now we can't hold runners on very well, that's really coming back to bite us. We lead the Prospect League in strikeouts as a pitching staff, but also we lead the league in walks. Same thing on the hitting side, we lead the league in home runs but also in striking out at the plate, and we struck out way too many times tonight.
"Some of these guys are way better than what they are giving out at the plate sometimes."
All those played a factor in the loss.
Quincy finished with three errors, one of which allowed the Pistol Shrimp to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning. Solo home runs by Andrew Dyke in the sixth and Kyle Kolb in the ninth pushed DuPage's lead to 3-1. A couple of walks and wild pitches plated the other three runs in the ninth.
On the other side, the Gems' offense was cold. Only Tyler Clark-Chiapparelli had multiple hits, finishing 2 for 4 with a pair of singles, and 10 Gems struck out.
"They are fighting really hard but we've got to expect better because some of these guys are such high-caliber players and you expect a lot from them," Robles said.
Six of those strikeouts came against DuPage reliever Jason Shanner, who came on for the last out in the sixth inning and stayed through the rest of the way for a 10-out save. Shanner went through the entire lineup without allowing a baserunner until Crowl drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth.
"(Shanner) was just a high spin rate fastball guy," Robles said. He really pitched off of his fastball, I don't know how many he threw but he threw a lot of them. When you've got a high spin rate fastball and you pitch off your fastball you're going to have success."
Gems' starter Nick McRandel turned in 42/3 solid innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out seven.
"Nick McRandal threw really well, he's been improving so much," Robles said. "He came here at 85-88 and topping out around 89 and today he was 89-91 and was throwing for a lot of strikes and was really good."
In three games against the Pistol Shrimp this season, the Gems have yet to record more than six hits.
"They have some velocity on their side and we are not handling that as well," Robles said.
Quincy and DuPage were tied for second in the Prospect League West Division before Saturday, and now the Pistol Shrimp have the advantage. Quincy can pull back even when the two teams face off again Sunday night, and even with six more games on the schedule against DuPage and more than a month left in the regular season, Robles said Sunday now feels like a must-win game.
"You would like to not give up too much ground to them so we have got to come out and win so we can split and still be tied with them," he said. "We have to come out and win and I think we will. We've got Ryan Ignoffo going and he's going to be fine. I think we will see some success."
Pistol Shrimp 6, Gems 3
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Toppel lf 4 1 1 0 Behling lf 3 1 1 0
Navarra dh 3 1 0 0 Clark 2b 4 0 2 0
Dyke rf 5 1 2 2 Polak 3b 3 0 0 1
Gallegos 1b 1 0 0 0 Youngquist 1b 4 0 0 0
Surin C 5 0 0 0 Crowl ss 3 1 0 0
Waznis 2b 4 0 0 0 Borden dh 3 1 1 1
Hodo 2b 0 0 0 0 Schares c 4 0 1 1
Kolb 3b 4 2 4 1 Vannoy c 2 0 0 0
Larson ss 2 1 0 0 Ignoffo ph 1 0 0 0
Valk cf 4 0 0 0 McGaha cf 3 0 0 0
Totals 32 6 7 3 Totals 30 3 5 3
DuPage 000 011 004 -- 6
Quincy 001 000 002 -- 3
E--Larson, Polak 2, Vannoy. DP--DuPage 1, Quincy 1. LOB--DuPage 8, Quincy 4. 2B--Borden II. HR--Dyke. Kolb. HP--Larson. SB--Toppel 2, Dyke, Kolb 2, Larson, Clark-Chiapparelli. CS--Navarra.
IP H R ERBB SO
Davidson W, 2-1 5 2-3 3 1 1 3 4
Shanner S, 1 3 1-3 2 2 2 1 6
McRandal 4 2-3 3 1 0 2 7
Jemar L, 1-5 3 2-3 4 4 3 3 2
Yogel 2-3 0 1 0 2 1
WP--Yogel 2. PB--Schares.
Umpires--Plate, James Cottrell; Field, Lucas Brass.