Rangers 8, Slammers 4
The Rangers snapped the Slammers 11-game win streak as they knocked off the first-place team 8-4 on Thursday night at Oak Grove Park.
Shawn Schmitt toed the rubber for the third time this season and was not impressed with the idea of a short porch in the outfield. But luckily for the Rangers, Schmitt kept the Slammers bats at bay from the big inning and no one had to worry about the longball on the evening.
The only damage came in the first two innings as the Slammers manufactured two-out hits to plate a pair in both frames. Meanwhile, the Rangers worked some two-out magic of their own. In the bottom of the first inning, Rob Pederson singled home Nick Gilmore before being erased on a double play. Dominic Kuzujanakis then singled and scored on Cooper Nolte's triple.
The decisive runs came in the bottom of the third as they knocked Slammers starter Dan Comes out of the game. With two on and two out, Brandon Marshall blopped a double just inside the left field line to score Ben Schooler. Jonmarc Lippincott then laced a single to center to score Kujo, and Marshall's head first slide into home forced the catcher to mishandle the ball, giving the Rangers a 5-4 lead. After a walk to Eric Becker and a single from Brody Dunlevy, Chris Ridl worked a bases-loaded walk off reliever Garrett Lee for an insurance run.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pederson was hit by a pitch and Gilmore ran for him. Kujo singled Gilmore over to third. With two outs, an errant pickoff play at first allowed Gilmore to scamper home for a 7-4 advantage. The Rangers added more insurance in the bottom of the sixth. After Pederson reached on an error, Gilmore ran for him again. And with the two-out theme still in play, Kujo hit a ball to shortstop and the errant throw to first nailed him in the jaw as he approached the bag. As the ball trickled away, Gilmore easily headed homeward.
Schmitt went the distance, allowing 9 hits and striking out 9 to move to 3-0 on the season. Shawn also struck out 5 of the final 6 batters of the game.
Fun Fact: The last time Shawn faced the Slammers was April 27, 2014 and came away with a 2-1 victory.
Offensive highlights: Dominic Kuzujanakis 3-for-4, 2 runs; Jonmarc Lippincott 2-for-2, 2RBI; Cooper Nolte 3b; Brandon Marshall 2b RBI
Historical Notes: Brandon Marshall needs 4 more hits to reach 100 for his career. Shawn Schmitt is 7 strikeouts away from 900 Ks for his career.