The Richmond baseball team battled through a pitchers duel again on Thursday, only this time they were left bloodied on the losing side of the crusade.
The two teams were locked in a stalemate, one run apiece, for almost all nine innings of the game. It took until the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded for Rhode Island to deliver the fatal blow – a single past two diving infielders.
While the Rams dog-piled atop their hero of the game, centerfielder Jordan Powell, the Spiders were sent back to their dugout, dejected.
Richmond did not lack in opportunities for the game to go their way, a reality that made the sting of the loss burn even hotter. Redshirt senior Dylan Stoops pitched like a seasoned professional for more than seven innings. He faced the minimum three batters in four of those innings, and surrendered just one run that in other circumstances would have been inconsequential. Unfortunately for Richmond, Rhode Island’s Steve Moyers pitched just as well.
The two pitchers ended the game with eerily identical statistics. Both gave up only one run on five hits with three walks. Stoops had three strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. Moyers struck out two in 8 1/3.
Against Moyers, the Spiders struck early. Third baseman Matt Dacey, who went 2-for-4, led off the second with a single, stole second and came around to score on first baseman Doug Kraeger’s sacrifice fly.
Richmond had men in scoring position in four of the next seven innings, but failed to bring them home. Perhaps the most devastating failure came in the top of the ninth.
Dacey once again led off with a single, and was thrown out on a fielder’s choice that left Kraeger standing on first. Clutching his batting gloves, Kraeger exploded into motion as the ball hit left fielder Jansen Fraser’s bat. He zoomed around the bases as Fraser’s hit dropped into right field for a single. But as Kraeger barreled for home, Rhode Island’s catcher readied to field the throw from right, and he tagged Kraeger before he could slide into home plate.
Kraeger’s cry of frustration was felt by all his teammates. Stoops said it was the toughest loss he and his teammates had ever been a part of. Stanley was hoping they would take that anger out on George Washington on Friday in what could potentially be the final game of their season.
“We’re definitely frustrated,” Stanley said. “At the same time we’re still here and we’re still in it. We like to do it the hard way anyway.”
The Spiders’ last hope in their quest for the A-10 crown will be to win against George Washington on Friday, who they beat 4-1 on Wednesday, or face elimination.
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