Game s 8, 9
Matt Delbridge tossed a 5-hit shutout to lead the Rangers to a 5-0 win over the Kettering Royals on Sunday at Howell Field in the first game of a doubleheader.
As the Royals bats struggled to adjust to Delbridge's pitching, the Rangers' bats were equally perplexed by Royals' starter Evan Koogler. Both offenses were silent for the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, Nick Gilmore was plunked with one out and, after stealing second, went to third on Eric Becker's single. A shallow flyout to center for the second out forced coach Lippincott for a drastic decision.
With a two-strike count on batter Joe Becker, Lippincott called for Gilmore to fake a steal of home to hopefully force Koogler to balk. But instead, the distracted flamethrower delivered to the plate. And as the third baseman moved to cover third base in hopes for a pickoff, Becker came through with a single in the newly unoccupied hole at third to drive in the first two runs of the game.
Gilmore added a run-scoring single to provide additional insurance in the top of the 7th, and Joe Becker smacked his third hit of the game and second straight 2-run single to make it 5-0.
Delbridge allowed three baserunners in the final frame, but did not allow them to score, striking out his fifth batter to end the game and preserve the 5-0 shutout.
Joe Becker took the mound for game two in looking to continue the dominant pitching trend against Royals righty Ryan Valentine. However, Becker fell into trouble early as the Royals manufactured a run in the top of the first inning. The Royals added three consecutive hits in the fifth to tally their second run and took a 2-0 lead into the sixth.
Kody Barth singled in the bottom of the inning, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Todd Peck's grounder to shortstop.
The Royals answered in the top of the seventh as Koogler tripled to right-center to lead off the inning and scored one batter later on Wes McGarry's single. That run proved valuable as the Rangers mounted a comeback attempt in the bottom of the seventh.
Eric Becker started off the inning with his fourth hit of the day. Joe Becker followed with his fifth base-knock of the afternoon. A groundout to second moved runners into scoring position. Newcomer Joe Lipinski reached base on a beautifully executed safety squeeze bunt, putting the tying run at third with just one out. But Valentine buckled down and got a pop out to first base and a strike out to end the game as the Royals hung on to a 3-2 win.
Offensive highlights: Joe Becker 5-for-5, 4RBIs; Eric Becker 4-for-6, 3R
Historical Notes: Jonmarc is 1 RBI away from 400 MVABL RBIs. Joe Becker is one win away from 30 career victories, and moved past Rob Hoover into second place in innings pitched. Eric Becker recorded his 100th MVABL hit. Shawn Schmitt registered his 250 career hit. Todd Peck drove in his 50th league RBI.