As sterling outfielders themselves, Nixa’s Wyatt Vincent and Rylan Michel could appreciate the prominent play of their counterparts from Fayetteville on Friday.
The Bulldogs robbed the Eagles of hits in left, center and right field while stopping Nixa’s winning streak at 12 games and handing the hosts a 7-1 defeat.
Fayetteville’s outfielders factored in the Eagles stranding nine baserunners, as the Bulldogs tracked down line drives on the run in left and right and made a diving catch of another liner in center.
“They're pretty legit,” said Vincent, who is in his second season as Nixa’s center fielder. “Their center fielder is really good. I've played against him several times. It can be frustrating. But when they make a good play on you, you've just got to tip your cap.”
“It was respectable. I'm trying to do the same thing they are,” left-fielder Michel said of Fayetteville’s outfield play. “They've got some good guys in the outfield and that's a really good ball club.”
Nixa (14-2) lost at home for the first time since a setback versus Webb City in April of 2021.
“It's not a good feeling,” Michel said. “But the loss doesn't define. us You learn from it and move on.”
The Eagles certainly didn’t lack for scoring chances.
In the first inning, they put runners on second and third with no one out, but struck out twice.
In the third, they loaded the bases with two outs, but again struck out.
In the fifth, they had runners on first and third with two outs, but a Caeden Cloud line drive was hauled in knee-high by Fayetteville’s right fielder.
Finally, in the seventh, Vincent tripled and Michel drove him in for Nixa’s lone tally.
“We didn’t execute quality enough at-bats with guys in scoring position. That was the complete difference in the game,” coach Logan Hughes said. “We need to have a better plan getting in the box and executing earlier in counts. We're falling behind too much without swinging. We need to be more aggressive earlier in the count.
“When you play really good teams, you've got to execute with guys in scoring position,” he added. “We’ll figure out how to do that better next time.”
Nixa totaled eight hits. Michel was 3-for-4, Vincent 2-for-3 with a walk and Cloud, Mason Eagleburger and Reese Dirnberger were all 1-for-3.
“We were hitting the ball, just not piecing hits together,” Michel said. “It was one of those days. I still think for anyone to have to face our lineup, it's going to be hard to do. We've got a strong lineup 1-9.”
On the mound, Nixa received three scoreless innings of relief from Brayton Tangora.
Fayetteville (15-5) went on to claim a 6-0 win at Kickapoo on Friday.
Nixa picked up a 13-5 COC win at Joplin on Thursday. Jack Edwards had a grand slam during his two-hit, six-RBI day. Michel contributed two hits, three runs and an RBI.
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