Game s 8,9
A couple of tough pills to swallow. Despite owning first inning leads in both games of a DH, the Rangers ultimately give two games away to the first-place Mad River Machine.
As game 1 began, the Rangers were still waiting on their 9th player to arrive. But the top of the order continues to produce for the club putting up 3 early runs in the top of the first. Nick Gilmore and Ben Schooler started off with singles. With one out, Stephen Hoendorf drove home a pair with a double. Luke Trubee followed with an RBI double as well. Machine starter Andrew Madlinger settled down from that point, blanking the Rangers over the next 5 innings.
Meanwhile, the Machine chipped away steadily at the Rangers' lead. They got a two-out RBI from Paul Wilson in the first, an RBI triple from Mark Carpenter in the third, a two-out RBI single from Tyler Bundy in the fourth, and a two-out RBI double from Carpenter in the fifth where the Machine took a 4-3 lead.
A crucial two-out throwing error in the sixth gave the Machine what soon would be a very important extra run. Because in the top of the 7th, the Rangers worked a little two-out magic of their own. Joe Becker and Nick Gilmore reached on errors. Schooler then roped a single to score Becker, and Cooper Nolte followed with a run-scoring single to left field to tie the game. Madlinger would be lifted for Carpenter who got Hoendorf to fly out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, a critical fielding error with two outs loaded the bases for Carpenter, who already had 3 hits on the day. With no where to put him, Carpenter smacked a game-winning single to deep right field to give the Machine the comeback win 6-5.
As the day's drizzle let up, game two started a little gloomy with the Machine tallying another two-out RBI hit in the top of the first. But the Rangers front-four remained hot. Gilmore led off with a single and Schooler followed with his 2nd home run of the season. Nolte then doubled and scored on Hoendorf's double to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
The Machine got a run back in the third to make it 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Nolte led off with a walk, and as Hoendorf delivered another double, Nolte scampered around the bags forcing extra throws from the defense to no avail as the Rangers increased the lead to 4-2. The Machine would however tie the game up in the sixth.
The Machine loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but a difficult ground ball double-play attempt went awry, allowing the go-ahead runs to score. Four runs would end up on the tally sheet for the Machine in the 7th. The Rangers, however, didn't have any heroics in the bag this time as the team went out quietly in the seventh. Final score was 8-4.
Offensive highlights: Nick Gilmore 3-for-7, 3 runs, 2 SB; Ben Schooler 4-for-8, 3 RBIs, HR; Cooper Nolte 2-for-7, 3 runs, RBI, double, SB: Stephen Hoendorf 4-for-7, 3 RBIs, 3 doubles.
Historical Notes: Nick Gilmore stole his 50th league base for his career. Ben Schooler is 1 RBI shy of 100 for his career. Joe Becker needs 9 strikeouts to surpass Rob Hoover for 2nd place on the franchise list for punchouts in MVABL play.