Game s 10, 11
The surface of the sun was the setting for Sunday's twinbill against the Wright Knights. Game 1 was a continuation of a May suspended game with the Rangers already trailing 3-0 with the Knights batting in the bottom of the second inning.
Ben Schooler took the mound in relief of Ian Rike, who was unavailable for the game. Inheriting a runner at second, the Knights took advantage of a fielding miscue to take a 4-0 lead. But that was the last lead the Knights would have on the day.
The Rangers' bats were just as hot as the smoldering weather conditions. The Rangers took advantage of three fielding errors and got a big 2-out, 2-run double from Brandon Marshall to build a 5-4 advantage in the third. Schooler would quiet the Knights bats over the next two innings while the Rangers increased their lead. After Stephen Hoendorf led off the fourth with a double, Schooler drove him in with his 100th career RBI. With Joe Becker running, Cooper Nolte singled in a run to make it 7-4. After stealing second and going to third on an error, Marshall plated Nolte for an 8-4 score. The Rangers added two more with a 2-run single in the fifth by Hoendorf.
The Knights got a run back on a Jake Postel RBI single in the fifth to cut the lead to 10-5. Both pitching corps grew weary in the sixth as the Rangers piled on 7 runs, while the Knights responded with 8 of their own off of 3 Rangers pitcher. However, the Rangers retained a 17-13 lead. Highlights from the 6th inning came from Ben Schooler's solo home run and RBI single, Jonmarc Lippincott's 2-run single, and Hoendorf's 3-run homer.
The Rangers added a pair in the top of the seventh off of an error and a fielder's choice. Short on pitchers, the Rangers called upon catcher Stephen Hoendorf (rather Stephen volunteered) to help soften the damage. And he was very effective, allowing just 2 runs over 2 innings of work as the Rangers held on to win 19-14 in game one.
Workhorse Joe Becker took the mound for game 2 and got early run support. The Rangers batted around in the bottom of the first, as the first 7 batters reached base and scored. RBIs came from Ben Schooler, Cooper Nolte, Brandon Marshall (2), Rhett Gipe, and Cody Pelfrey. The Knights manufactured two runs in the second and three in the top of the third to cut the lead to 7-5.
However, the Rangers put up a two-out rally in the bottom of the third as Nick Gilmore singled home a run and scored on Eric Becker's triple. Schooler followed with a single to plate Becker to make the score 11-5. Joe blanked the Knights over the next three frames as it was obvious that the heat was taking its toll on everyone. The Rangers did get an RBI single from newly signed Chris Ridl and couple more runs on errors. And the Knights fancied themselves a couple runs as well in their final at-bat. The Rangers survived the game and the DH sweep, winning game two 14-7.
Ben Schooler picked up his first win on the mound since the 2012 playoffs, and Joe Becker moved to 4-2 on the season with his 5th complete game of the year.
Offensive highlights: Nick Gilmore 3-for-8, 3 runs, RBI, double, SB; Eric Becker 3-for-5, triple, 2 runs, 2RBI; Ben Schooler 6-for-9, 3 runs, 5RBI, HR; Cooper Nolte 3-for-9, 3 runs, 2RBI, SB; Brandon Marshall 5-for-8, 4 runs, 5RBI, 2 doubles; Jonmarc Lippincott 4-for-9, 4 runs, 2RBI; Rhett Gipe 3-for-4, 3 runs, RBI; Joe Becker 3-for-7, 2 runs; Cody Pelfrey 4 runs; Brody Dunlevy 2-for-5, 3 runs; Stephen Hoendorf 3-for-5, 2 runs, 6 RBI, double, HR, SB; Chris Ridl 1-for-4, RBI.
Historical Notes: Ben Schooler recorded his 100th career RBI with a run-scoring single in Game 1. Joe Becker needs 7 strikeouts to surpass Rob Hoover for 2nd place on the franchise list for punchouts in MVABL play. Eric Becker picked up his 150th MVABL hit in game 2 and is 1 run away from scoring his 100th career run. Stephen Hoendorf did his best Ken Griffey Jr. impersonation by homering on Father's Day for the second straight year. Ben Schooler set a new career high with his 3rd home run, and had his first 4-hit game of his career.