In hindsight, maybe Kasey Olenberger's decision to have his team wear black jerseys on a day that reached 96 degrees wasn't such a good idea.
That, and a three-run home run he yielded to Sacramento River Cat Dee Brown in the sixth inning of the Bees' 8-6 loss to Sacramento were pretty much all the talented right-hander got wrong Sunday afternoon at a scorching Franklin Covey Field.
Olenberger, who entered Sunday's game with Pacific Southern Division-leading Sacramento with a glossy 7-2 record and a 3.92 ERA, seemed well in command early, striking out five of the first seven River Cats he faced while keeping them hitless until Daric Barton doubled off the left-field wall with one out in the fourth.
By the time he exited the game after seven complete, the Bees were nursing a 6-4 lead, and Olenberger had fanned 10 Sacramento hitters, easily surpassing his previous career-high of seven.
"Kasey was mixing up all his pitches, keeping them off balance with his off-speed stuff," said Bees manager Brian Harper. "He was moving his fast ball in and out real well. He just had that one bad inning, made that mistake to Dee Brown. Left the ball out over the plate."
Oh, yeah, the three-run homer.
With one out in the sixth and runners on first and second, Brown grooved a fastball over the right-field fence. Suddenly, a seemingly safe 5-1 lead had been reduced to a single run, and the River Cats seemed poised for more. But Olenberger escaped the inning without further damage, inducing a pair of groundouts, then returned for one more scoreless inning before giving way to Alex Serrano.
Serrano, however, didn't come with the same stuff Olenberger flashed, lasting only two-thirds of an inning before giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits in taking the loss.
"It's kind of a shame that we gave up the lead," Harper said. "(Olenberger) had a good breaking ball, a good change-up. He had good stuff today. It's just a disappointing loss. Very disappointing."
The River Cats were led by Barton, their hot-hitting first baseman who entered the game with a 19-game hitting streak (nine-game multi-hit streak). Barton collected four more hits Sunday. Jeremy Brown added a pair of RBIs via a two-run double in the eighth that ultimately proved the difference.
"Tomorrow's another day," Harper said. "These guys are real good at absorbing losses and coming back tough the next day."Which is a good thing, as the River Cats and another day in the mid-90s will be waiting for them.
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