April 19, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
39°F
test

Baseball: Ironmen routed by RiverRats

LORAIN — The Richmond RiverRats put Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion to the test Thursday in the opening game of a two-night Prospect League series against the Lorain County Ironmen at The Pipe Yard.

Every time the Ironmen managed to send a run across the plate, the RiverRats had an equal and opposite reaction, which helped the visitors claim a 13-3 victory. Richmond (15-10) leads Lorain County (14-12) by 1½ games for second place in the East Division.

“Those guys swing the bats, for sure. They’ve been hot lately,” Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg said. “We’ve been checking their scores every now and then and it seems like they score seven or eight, so I expected them to come out and be aggressive and hit the ball.”

Though the Ironmen initiated the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Richmond answered with two runs in the top of the second and took the lead with one in the third.

Former Ironmen infielder Austin Ingraham hit a deep fly ball to the gap in right-center field that caromed off Jeff Cola’s glove. Left fielder Nick Brennen followed the triple with a groundball to first base that scored Ingraham. Brennen, who reached on an error by Lorain County pitcher Sean Blackburn, scored on Kyle Bischoff’s groundout to second base.

Nolan Earley drove in Richmond’s lone run in the third when he hit Blackburn’s 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center.

“Blackburn left a couple up and that’s when he seemed to get hit tonight,” Rhomberg said. “Normally, he’s low in the zone, but I thought we’d come out better, be more aggressive and it didn’t happen tonight. That happens every now and then in baseball.

“Hopefully, it’s one of those games where we got it out all at once. There were some mental errors, some physical errors and that’s part of it. Hopefully, we learn from it and move on.”

The Ironmen tied the score in the bottom of the third, but Richmond broke the game open with nine runs over the next five innings.

Bischoff netted his second RBI of the game in the fourth when he singled home Ingraham, who walked to start the inning. Ryan Skellie dropped a ball in left field, which let Earley score in the fifth. Earley had reached on a fielding error charged to Lorain County first baseman Brad Hallberg.

Richmond added three more in the top of the sixth when five consecutive batters reached base.

T.J. Weir and Bischoff had back-to-back singles and Josh Denny reached on a throwing error. Then, Jake Hansen and Rob McPike hit consecutive singles. McPike’s hit to left field drove in Denny for the final run of the inning.

In the top of the eighth inning, Richmond pinch hitter Taylor Luna bounced a single into right field and set the table for Earley, the No. 3 hitter in Richmond’s line-up. Earley took the first pitch he saw over the wall in right-center field in nearly the same spot his first round-tripper landed.

While the RiverRats were hitting well, starting pitcher Elliott Ross held the Ironmen in check. After throwing 55 pitches in the first three innings, Ross settled in and allowed just two hits over his final four innings of work.

“It seemed like we had a chance to jump on him early and maybe we didn’t capitalize on all of the opportunities that we could,” said Rhomberg. “He settled in, hit his spots and started mixing his pitches really well. I give him all the credit. From the third inning on, he did a great job.”

Contact Matt Florjancic at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.