The Rangers kicked off their 23rd season looking for a ninth consecutive Opening Day victory. But the fortunes fell the wrong way as the Rangers suffered a 9-4 setback to the Kettering Royals on Sunday, April 7 at Gastineau Field in New Carlisle.
The Rangers got to Royals' starter Evan Koogler in the top of the first as Rob Pederson doubled to deep right and came around to score on an RBI groundout from Brandon Marshall.
Joe Becker got his fourth Opening Day assignment on the mound but fell victim to the 'doubles' bug as Chris Flaherty and Nick Anloague accounted for 5 doubles and 5 RBIs in the 5 innings of work for the Rangers' ace.
The Rangers got a couple runs back early on from an error and RBI single from Marshall. but a 4-3 deficit grew to an 8-3 hole after the Royals put a 4-spot on the board in the bottom of the fifth.
Ben Schooler relieved Becker and struck out 7 in the final 3 innings, allowing 1 hit and an unearned run.
The Rangers tried to do something in the ninth after rookie Chris Jones singled for the second time on the day. Chris Pluta drove in Jones to make the score 9-4. Matt Wargacki followed with the second of his two hits. After a fielder's choice put runners on the corners, Royals reliever Wes McGarry got Nick Gilmore to line out to centerfield to end the game.
Offensive highlights: Rob Pederson 2-for-3, double; Chris Jones 2-for-4, 2 SB; Matt Wargacki 2-for-4, 2 SB
Historical Notes: The Rangers fall to 14-9 overall in Opening Day games.