Brian Ryman put his arm around Mac Thoreson’s waist. Perhaps he should have put his hand over Thoreson’s mouth.
Ryman, the coach of the Nashville Outlaws, allowed his starting pitcher to have his say following the seventh inning, at which time the first-year franchise in the Prospect League had a three-run lead.
“He was telling me he was not going to come out,” Ryman said. “I let him go back out there.”
Thoreson promptly gave up a home run and then was pulled.
Still, his performance was something for the crowd 2,078 that turned up at Hawkins Field for the first home game in team history to talk about. The Knoxville native allowed just three hits in seven innings and retired 20 in a row before the home run as the Outlaws defeated the Springfield Sliders 4-2 after having dropped three of four on the road to open the season.
Thoreson used his fastball to take advantage of hitters trying to cope with the limitations of wood bats in the summer collegiate showcase league. He struck out five and did not walk anyone.
Of course, it was that same philosophy that cost him in the eighth.
“I wasn’t going to change my approach,” Thoreson, who just completed his freshman season at Miami (Ohio), said. “I had thrown a first-pitch fastball to a number of batters in a row and obviously (the hitter) was sitting on one there. I got it up a little bit and he hit it. That’s what happens sometimes.”
Matt Marsh of Austin Peay got the three outs in the eighth, and Belmont’s Jon Ivie pitched the ninth and earned the save.
Although it was just the first home game, it already was pretty typical of what the team has experienced to this point. It took less than two hours from the first pitch to the final out.
“If you’re used to seeing Major League games, which take three or four hours, this is going to be something different,” Ryman said. “We’ve been running about 2 hours or 2 hours, 10 minutes.
“There’s going to be a lot of good pitching and runs might be hard to come by some times.”
Chances are it will be even harder for the next pitcher to convince him to stay in the game.”
• Tuesday’s game was the first of six straight at home for the Outlaws. Scheduled start time is 7 p.m. during the week, 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Friday will include a pre-game concert by Charlie Daniels with proceeds to benefit Nashville Flood Relief.