The Hannibal Cavemen used eight unanswered runs to top the Danville Dans 8-2 on Thursday evening at Danville Stadium.
Danville didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. Byron Williams walked with one out in the bottom of the first, and Nate Johnson followed with a home run to right field for a 2-0 lead.
But it was all Cavemen from there, as they came back in third inning. Curtis Ford walked to open the inning, and Colin Hofmann reached safely when Danville starter Matt Smith’s underhand toss to first on Hofmann’s bunt sailed high. Ashley Graeter followed with a single that hit the third-base bag and popped into left field, scoring Ford. Hofmann later scored on a Grant Dozar sacrifice fly to tie the game at two.
The Cavemen broke the tie in the fourth with three runs with the help of some more shaky Dans defense. Tommy Diibon was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Brett Frantini followed with a single. Garrison McLagen then rolled a grounder to second base that got over the glove of the Dans’ Frank Rawdow, scoring Diibon and sending Frantini to third. Ford singled home Frantini, and McLagen crossed the plate two batters later on a Graeter RBI double to make to 5-2.
The Danville offense was held in check by Graeter, who earned the win for Hannibal and allowed two runs in seven innings while striking out six. The Dans two on with one out in the sixth, but Graeter struck out Richie Goodenow and Austin Green to get out of the jam.
Hannibal added two runs in the seventh on four hits, the damage coming on a Frantini RBI single and a Ford RBI double. Danville again had a chance to rally in the bottom half, putting two runners in scoring position with one out. But Graeter thwarted the rally by retiring Rawdow and Williams on pop-ups in the infield to preserve the 7-2 lead.
The Cavemen scored once more in the ninth on Ford’s RBI double. The second baseman finished 3-for-3 on the night with two RBIs and a run scored, and he reached base in every at-bat, also drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. Graeter had three hits and a pair of RBIs, while Frantini was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs.
Johnson led the Danville offense, going 2-for-4 with the homer and two RBIs. Smith took the loss for the Dans. The righty allowed five runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
With the loss, Danville falls to 21-19 and sits four games behind division leader Quincy.