QUINCY — Jake Skrine’s home run in the bottom of the ninth briefly saved the Quincy Gems, but too many walks led to the Gems’ undoing in a 9-6 loss in 10 innings on Wednesday night to the Burlington Bees in a Prospect League game at QU Stadium.
Skrine led off the ninth when he tagged a 1-0 pitch by reliever Grady Gorgen over the right-field wall. The Gems had a chance to win the game. Andrew Fay and Alex Wattermann were walked, but Joseph Batusich struck out to send the game to extra innings.
Reliever Connery O’Donnell struggled in the 10th. He walked the first two batters, then didn’t get off the mound quick enough to field Chase Honeycutt’s sacrifice bunt that loaded the bases. Next up was Dylan Hale, who hit a ball that bounced high off the plate. Skrine came in from first base to field it about 20 feet from home plate. His throw to first was late as another run scored.
O’Donnell walked in another run. After the Gems recorded an out, Rome Wallace doubled to right-center to plate two more runs. Justin Baehler’s ground out scored the fifth run of the inning.
Skrine hit a two-run homer in the 10th for the Gems’ final runs.
The Gems (26-29, 13-15 second half) are 2 1/2 games behind Clinton (14-11) for the Great Lakes Division lead with five games to play. Clinton defeated Normal 5-4 on Wednesday for its eighth win in 10 games. The Gems have lost nine of their last 12 games.
Four Gems pitchers — Jake Stipp, Tyler Carpenter, Jake Payne and O’Donnell — combined for 14 walks and two hit batters. Gems pitchers threw 218 pitches in the game, while Burlington pitches threw 201. The time of the game was three hours and 51 minutes.
The Gems trailed 3-0 when Batusich singled in two runs in the sixth. The Bees added a run in the seventh. Matt Schark hit his 16th homer of the season to make the score 4-3.
Schark has 62 RBIs this season with five games to play. The Prospect League record is 66 RBIs, set in 2012 by Matthew Tellor of Springfield and Giancarlo Brugnoni of Chillicothe.