The Colt 45’s wasted no time in striking first. Craig Biggio led off the bottom of the first with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out, then came around to score on a Dickie Thon single. It would be the only run they’d muster that inning, although they left two more on base.
The Rainbows immediately tied things back up, though, when Rusty Staub hit a one-out solo home run the next inning. Yuli Gurriel would work a two-out walk later that inning, but starter Mike Scott worked through his second and final inning without further incident.
It was a little bit back-and-forth after that, although neither team was able to go all the way. Roy Oswalt pitched around a walk and an error in the second. Glenn Davis and Thon worked a one-out walk and single off Don Wilson in the bottom of the third, but he similarly escaped trouble. Jose Cruz led off the top of the fourth with a double off of Nolan Ryan, and Morgan Ensberg worked a walk after, but Ryan escaped the jam by striking out Gurriel on a nine pitch at-bat. Wilson walked two more in the bottom half, but stranded both. Marwin González’s lead-off double in the fifth went nowhere.
The scoring picked up again in the bottom of the fifth, though. Davis and Thon hit back-to-back singles off of new pitcher Mike Cuellar. It looked like he might escape unscathed when Doug Rader hit into a double play, but Luis Gonzalez came through in the clutch with a first-pitch single to bring in Davis. It looked like things might get worse from there when Brian McCann reached on an error by first baseman Staub, but Cuellar buckled down and got Michael Bourn to fly out.
It looked like the Colt 45’s might relinquish that new lead immediately, when Staub reached on a two-out error by pitcher Andy Pettitte, then advanced to third on a passed ball. Unfortunately, Ensberg went down swinging on a 2-2 count, preserving the lead.
It looked like the scoring might pick up in the next inning, but things went nowhere. The Colts stranded no-out singles from Biggio and Terry Puhl, while the Rainbows stranded Gurriel following his leadoff single. However, Rader redeemed himself in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff homer off of new pitcher Ken Forsch. Forsch struck out the next two hitters before allowing a single to Michael Bourn, but escaped trouble by becoming the first pitcher of the day to retire Biggio.
That single would be the last hit of the evening. Cruz and Alex Bregman would each work one-out walks in the eighth, but were both stranded by their teammates. And finally, Turk Farrell secured the save by working a 1-2-3 ninth. Pettitte would get the win, while Cuellar would wear the loss.
MVP honors for the match would likely go to either Craig Biggio or Dickie Thon, who went 2-4 with a run and a walk, and 3-5 with an RBI, respectively. On the flipside, the one-through-four hitters on the Rainbows went a combined 1-15, with Jose Cruz’s double and walk providing the only offense; I definitely wasn’t counting on Joe Morgan, Jim Wynn, and Lance Berkman all recording 0-fers at the same time.
The Hatter Colt 45’s move on to the winners’ bracket, and will face the winner of the matchup between the Hammer H’s and the Bilbos Brick Red. Meanwhile, the Rainbows will try and rediscover their bats in a do-or-die game against the Cody Blue & Gold.