Games 11, 12
The Rangers got a scare from the North Dayton Nightmare, but ultimately eeked out a DH sweep of the expansion team at Rotary Park.
In game 1, the Rangers scored 3 or more runs in every inning to coast to a 22-3 victory. In the first inning, Rob Pederson hit a 2-run home run, and Markus Neff had a 3-run triple to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead. A couple of fielding miscues gave the Nightmare a run in the bottom of the first. Dominic Kuzujanakis and Jonmarc Lippincott contributed RBIs in the 2nd to build the lead to 10-1. But the Nightmare took advantage of two more miscues in the bottom half of the frame to make it 10-2. In the third, Chris Jones and Nick Gilmore laced RBI doubles, and Ben Schooler had a run-scoring single to increase the lead to 15-2. An RBI triple from Cooper Nolte, followed by an RBI double from Jones, followed by an RBI single from Gilmore made it 18-2 through 4 innings. In the fifth, Nolte had an RBI single. Jones added a 2-run single. Then Hunter Kraynak made his batting debut and dropped an RBI single to left field for his first MVABL hit. The Nightmare punched four singles and a run across in the bottom of the seventh, but the Rangers finished the run-rule after 5 complete.
Game 2 was a little hairier as the Rangers had to overcome a deficit twice to walk off with a 15-14 victory. Trey Walker had an RBI single and later scored on an error to give the Nightmare a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Schooler followed Pederson's double with an RBI single to get a run back. But the Nightmare answered again in the second with a run to make it 3-1. The Nightmare looked to pull away in the third, scoring 3 times to increase the advantage to 6-1. However, the Rangers offense kicked into gear in the bottom of the third. Neff led off with a triple and scored on Nolte's single. Pederson would add an RBI knock and Kujo had a 2-run single to tie the game 6-6.
The fourth inning was the only inning the Nightmare went scoreless, which enabled the Rangers to take its first lead of the game. Gilmore had a 2-run single, Rob Pederson had an RBI single, and Schooler had an RBI groundout to give the Rangers a 10-6 lead.
The Nightmare kept making it interesting, scoring 3 times in the 5th to make it 10-9. A 2-run single from Nolte and an RBI double from Jones increased the lead to 13-9 after 5 innings. The Nightmare added 2 runs in the 6th and kept the Rangers scoreless to send the game to the 7th with the Rangers clinging to a 2-run lead.
Nightmare third baseman Kevin Brown had an RBI single to bring his team within a run. With two outs and the tying run at second base, the Rangers elected to intentionally walk Wil Bohlman who already had a pair of RBI doubles in the game. The move would temporarily backfire as Parker Liston lofted a shallow single to right to score the tying run. And Andrew Hall's groundball was thrown away to plate the go-ahead run.
Trying not to become the Nightmare's second late-inning victim in a week, the Rangers mounted their comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Lippincott led off the inning with a single to center. Joe Becker entered as a pinch runner and moved to third on Neff's single to right. With a 2-2 count on Cooper Nolte, Neff took off for second. Nolte then nailed his 7th hit of the day to right-center plating Becker easily to tie, and scoring Neff all the way from first with the game-winning run.
Ben Schooler and Joe Becker earned wins on the day.
Nightmare 3, game 1
Rangers 15, Nightmare 14, game 2
Offensive highlights: Nick Gilmore 5-for-8, 4RBIs, double; Rob Pederson 6-for-8, 5 runs, 4RBI, double, HR; Ben Schooler 3RBIs; Dominic Kuzujanakis 5-for-8, 5 runs, 3RBI, double; Jonmarc Lippincott 5-for-8, 3 runs, RBI; Markus Neff 4-for-6, 7 runs, 3RBIs, 2 triples, double; Cooper Nolte 7-for-7, 6 runs, 8 RBI, double, sac; Chris Jones 4-for-6, 6 runs, 5RBIs, 3 doubles.
Historical Notes: Nick Gilmore had his 3rd career 4-hit game. Markus Neff had his first 4-run game. Chris Jones had his 2nd career 4-run scored game. Cooper Nolte had a career-high 4 hits and 5 RBI game.