Bubba Bell collected a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs that helped deliver a win to Tim Redding as the Sugar Land Skeeters won for the second consecutive game against the Bridgeport Bluefish, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Constellation Field.
Redding (2-1), making his first appearance at home since joining the Skeeters on August 17, battled through six innings, fighting some control issues as well and his own defensive miscue to keep his team within striking distance of the Bluefish.
Joey Gathright brought home the first run of the game with a third-inning RBI single. Bridgeport extended the lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth on an error by Redding. The pitcher dropped a throw from Dominic Ramos while covering first, allowing Prentice Redman to score an unearned run.
Sugar Land scored an unearned run of their own against Bridgeport starter Paul Oseguera (10-4) in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 2-1.
The game remained there into the sixth inning when Bell delivered a bases-loaded single to bring home a pair of runs that gave the Skeeters a 3-2 lead.
It was his first hit of the night and, ironically, Bell said his early struggles against Oseguera worked in his favor in the sixth.
“I had two frustrating at-bats (in his first two plate appearances),” Bell said. “I hoped that he was going to go off the tendencies that he did off my first two ABs and (I tried to) cheat on a fastball in.”
It worked and gave the team a lead and when Matt Hagen followed with an RBI double, the Skeeters had given Redding a 4-2 lead.
They would not surrender it.
Dustin Richardson, Saul Rivera and Gary Majewski each worked a scoreless inning to preserve the victory for Redding. Majewski recorded his 21st save in the process.
Dionys Cesar capped the scoring by knocking in an insurance run with an RBI single that scored Octavio Martinez in the seventh inning.
The win brought the Skeeters (23-23, 52-64) back to .500 in the second-half Atlantic League playoff race with 24 games remaining in the season. They are currently still 6-1/2 game behind first-place Lancaster in the Freedom Division standings.
But Bell said after Tuesday’s game that the team still believes they have a run left in them.
“Nobody is even looking at (the race) as close to being over,” the Paris, Texas, native said. “We’re looking at it as an opportunity to continue to build as a team and make that push toward the end.”
“We’re finally starting to pitch and hit—everything is kind of coming together—and there’s no better time for us to peak than in this home stretch.”
The Skeeters now lead the series 3-2 and will wrap up the homestand against Bridgeport at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night at Constellation Field. Scott Kazmir (0-6, 7.57 ERA) faces Gilbert De La Vara (9-7, 3.92) in a rematch of the series opener.