A rather unusual poor showing on both the offensive and defensive fronts led to a 10-8 loss to the Dayton Cardinals on Sunday, April 29 at Howell Field.
The Rangers were stifled from the get-go against Cardinals rookie Josh Cvetkovich, who struck out 12 batters in just over 6 innings of work. The Rangers found themselves in an 8-2 hole when Cvetkovich left the game after loading the bases on walks in the 7th.
Eric Becker had his hand in half of the Rangers runs on the day. He walked and scored on a double-steal in the first, and drove in the second run of the game with a double in the third. With one out in the 7th, Becker plated the third Rangers' run with a sacrifice fly to deep left center.
The Cards got one run back after back-to-back doubles with two outs. The Rangers chipped away at the deficit in the top of the 8th as Brandon Marshall reached on a misplayed popup in the infield. After a pair of ensuing infield popups, Rob Pederson delivered with his second double of the afternoon to score Marshall to make it 9-4. Cooper Nolte entered the lineup as a pinch hitter and smacked a two-run home run to left center in his first plate appearance this season.
But the Cardinals wouldn't go away, scoring once again in the bottom of the 8th on the fourth Rangers' error in the game. The Cards turned the ball over to Nick Merson in the 9th to hold on to a 10-6 lead. After two quick outs, Eric Becker was hit by a pitch. Cody Pelfrey reached on a throwing error. Both Becker and Pelfrey would eventually score on wild pitches to make it 10-8. Brandon Marshall walked to put the tying run at the plate. Rookie Ian Rike appeared to beat out an infield hit, but the calls weren't going the Rangers way on Sunday.
The Rangers ultimately dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of. The defense committed 4 errors. Two times Cardinals batters struck out and were able to reach first base due to a wild strike three, and of course they eventually scored. Rangers batters struck out a total of 15 times which doesn't help in the grand scheme of things in putting pressure on the opponent's defense.
Andrew Holland suffered the loss, allowing one hit and two earned runs in three innings, striking out 5.
The Rangers (1-1) look to rebound next Sunday with a DH tilt at Centerville high school against the Wright Knights.
Offensive highlights: Cooper Nolte 1-for-1, 2-run HR; Rob Pederson 2-for-4, 2 doubles; Eric Becker 1-for-2, double, 2 runs, SB, sac