The Rams (1-2) fell to the Braves (2-1) of UNC Pembroke Sunday afternoon by the score of 11-6. UNC Pembroke won the series over Shepherd University with their victory Sunday.
Coming out hot from the start, Braves’ infielder Roberto Rivera reached home after a wild pitch by sophomore pitcher Ryan Simpson of the Rams. Simpson would continue to have struggles, as he balked later in the inning, which allowed infielder Nick Salisbury to advance home.
With self-inflicting errors, it was already 2-0 Braves.
Braves’ outfielder/infielder Nick Debo blasted a solo-shot in the second inning that increased the Braves’ lead to 3-0.
The third inning featured a sacrifice fly and another balk by Simpson that permitted Stibel Aleman Saba to come home, making it 4-0 Braves. Coach Matt McCarty of the Rams had seen enough after the inning was over, as Simpson was relieved of his duties after just three innings of work. Posting no strikeouts, walking three, allowing three hits, and five runs (four earned), it was a day that Simpson no doubt wanted to forget.
It was not all Simpson’ fault though. In the fifth inning, there was a fielding error that allowed infielder/pitcher River Ryan to reach first base, which then allowed infielder Luke Jackson to come in to score, making it 7-0 Braves.
Trailing 9-0 in the sixth inning, the Rams’ started to make some noise as their bats finally got hot. Senior infielder Jacob Carney launched a double down the right field line, bringing in freshman outfielder Brenton Doyle for the Rams’ first run.
Senior infielder Brandon Kirk then stepped up to the plate and delivered a homerun to center field that brought in Carney as well. The Braves were still up though 9-3 after six innings.
Showing great fight, in the seventh inning, Carney again came to the plate and doubled to right center, as junior infielder/catcher Dalton Haymaker came in to score.
The score was 9-5 after senior infielder Tyler Piccolo grounded out to second base, but this provided an opportunity for senior outfielder JJ Sarty to fly around the bases.
The Rams were starting to make a comeback, but unlike the Patriots would do later that evening in Super Bowl LI, the Rams were unable to complete it.
In the eighth inning, the Braves responded when Saba again sent a single to center field, bringing home infielder Drew Beaver. The Rams’ miscues would continue as Justin Datillo reached first on a throwing error, while infielder Seth Hartings was sprinting around third, seeing the Rams’ mistake, and proceeded to score on the play.
The Rams would tack on a run in the ninth, but it was too little too late, as the team fell 11-6.
Saba hurt the Rams in a variety of ways, finishing with three hits on the afternoon.
Being put in a tough position, relieving pitcher Jesse Stinnett of the Rams went five innings, struck out five with no walks, and gave up three runs on seven hits.
Carney’s two doubles and Doyle’s hits made the end score more respectable for the Rams.
The Rams next contest is Friday afternoon when they again go on the road to face USC Aiken in a 4 p.m. match up.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org