The Owensboro RiverDawgs bounced back nicely Thursday night.
Following a setback Wednesday, the RiverDawgs responded the next night with an 8-1 victory against the visiting Henderson Flash in an Ohio Valley League baseball matchup at Chautauqua Park’s Independence Bank Field.
Kyle Hogwood went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in, Cameron Nichols went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Brayden Busch collected six strikeouts with one run, one hit and two walks as Owensboro improved to 7-4 overall.
“I thought yesterday was the first time all year we didn’t play with any energy,” said RiverDawgs manager Vic Evans, referring to his squad’s 7-2 loss at Muhlenberg County. “Tonight, when you get a guy like Brayden Busch that threw the way he did, he really set the tone. Our at-bats were really good tonight, up and down the lineup.
“Anytime you get pitching like we got tonight, everything flows off of that for us. When our starters have been good, our offense has been good — it all flows together.”
The RiverDawgs struck in the bottom of the first inning when David Jeffers scored on a passed ball after getting on with a base hit. However, Owensboro plated just one run in the frame despite loading the bases with just one out.
Hogwood extended the lead in the third inning with a two-RBI double, bringing home Bailey Falkenstein and Hayden Hirschvogel, who reached with a walk and a double, respectively.
“Yesterday, we had a lot of chances early in the game and left a lot of men on base,” Evans said. “Then the first inning tonight, bases loaded, one out, and we just got one. We needed that big hit to get going after last night. Hogwood came in and got that two-out double. It broke the ice, and everyone relaxed and had really good at-bats after that.”
The Flash (6-5) cut into the deficit with a solo home run from Brandon Daniels in the top of the fourth inning, but Henderson couldn’t get any closer from there.
Owensboro distanced itself in the bottom of the fourth when Peyton Meredith doubled, stole third and then scored on a passed ball. Ben Clark scored moments later on a fielder’s choice RBI by Nichols.
The RiverDawgs sealed the win with three more runs in the sixth, getting a two-RBI single by Nichols and an RBI base hit by Hirschvogel.
Jeffers and Hirschvogel finished with two hits apiece, while Jeffers, Clark and Meredith scored two runs each.
Just 11 games into the season, Evans has been pleased by the way his group has gelled so far.
“I like them a lot,” he said. “The thing I really like is they get along together, there’s really good chemistry. In summer league baseball, it’s so organic. That has to happen on its own.
“This team is, by far and away, the best chemistry we’ve ever had early. That makes it fun to come to the ballpark every day. They’re a really great, fun group of guys to be around every day.”
The next step for the team, Evans added, is to build day-to-day consistency — but it’s not an issue he’s worried about.
“We’re finding everybody’s role,” he said. “We’re trying different lineups, trying different pitchers in roles. I think, as we start to find those roles, we’ll also find a little bit more consistency.”
The RiverDawgs return to action Friday and Saturday with road matchups at the Full County Rhythm in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and at Fulton, before returning home Sunday to host Madisonville at 6 p.m.
HENDERSON 000 100 000 — 1 6 1
OWENSBORO 102 203 00x — 8 11 1
WP-Busch. LP-Matsen. 2B-Hogwood 2, Hirschvogel, Meredith (O). HR-Daniels (H).