The Rams (15-14, 12-2 MEC) found their offensive groove against the Blue Knights (12-17, 6-8 MEC) of Urbana University (Ohio) in game one, winning by an 8-2 score, but could not sustain it in their 3-2 loss in game two.
In the first inning of game one, junior infielder/outfielder Chase Hoffman gave the Rams a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with his two-run homerun to left field.
Later on, the Rams would jump out to a 5-0 lead when Hoffman scored off of sophomore infielder Brian McCourt’s sacrifice fly to left field.
Infielder Connor Coy would score an unearned run for the Blue Knights in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to a fielder’s choice by the Rams’ defense, but that would be all she wrote for the Blue Knights’ offense.
Recording just six hits in the game, the Blue Knights could not get much of an offensive rhythm going against the stellar pitching that redhsirt-freshman pitcher Joe Rindone (4-2) displayed. Rindone was only charged with one earned run in the game, as he struck out four Blue Knights.
That is not to say he did not make things interesting though. Rindone walked four Blue Knights and threw two wild pitches during the contest. Despite the Blue Knights giving him trouble, however, Rindone would settle down when it counted most, and kept the majority of Blue Knights’ runners from advancing home.
The Rams would add three runs in the top of the fifth inning to thwart any thoughts of a Blue Knights’ comeback in game one, securing the 8-2 victory.
Patrick Orr (0-3) took the loss for the Blue Knights. The Rams had his number from the start, as Orr lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on five hits, walking and striking out four, and hitting two Rams’ batters. He let the Rams get on base in a variety of ways, costing the team.
Game two would prove to be a complete reversal for the Blue Knights, however, at least on the pitching side.
Surrendering just two runs, starting pitcher Adam Guay (8.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 SO) seemed to figure out the Rams’ offense in between games, as the Rams really could not generate a substantial offensive flow throughout the game.
The Blue Knights took a 3-0 lead for Guay into the top of the ninth inning. They scored one run in three different innings.
Infielder Damario Brown reached first base thanks to an error by the Rams’ first baseman in the bottom of the first inning. Capitalizing off of the error, infielder Isac Franklin came in to score to give the Blue Knights a 1-0 lead.
The lead would grow to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when pitcher/outfielder Bradley Burkholder reached first base on a fielder’s choice. He was credited with a RBI, as infielder Daniel Quiroz scored an unearned run.
With the Rams still within striking distance, the Blue Knights gave Guay more run support in the bottom of the third inning with a passed ball by the Rams. Quiroz reached third base, infielder Mickey Barea got to second base, and Coy reaped the most benefits on the play, scoring unearned run to augment the Blue Knights’ lead to 3-0.
Later, in the top of the ninth inning, the Rams finally got to Guay, as their offense woke up. Sophomore outfielder Reid Entsminger put the team on his back, launching a two-run homerun to left field to give the Rams some hope, as they now trailed just 3-2.
However, this effort would prove to be too little too late, as Robbie Guerrero came in to close out the game for the Blue Knights. He got freshman outfielder Brenton Doyle to strike out to give the Rams two outs in the inning.
The game would end in a base-running blunder, as sophomore infielder Brian McCourt was picked off trying to advance from second to third base on a steal attempt. Guerrero saw this, stepped off the mound, and threw the ball to the Blue Knights’ shortstop. McCourt tried to evade the tag, but ultimately was unable to do so, securing the 3-2 victory for the Blue Knights.
On Sunday afternoon, these two teams will square off again in Urbana. Game one starts at 1:00 p.m., followed by game two at 3:30 p.m.
Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org