SHELBYVILLE, IL. — The first of two 1-run losses in two days came as the Rams have faded from the OVC title hun t with a loss to Meridian on Monday, 3-2.
The Rams had trouble again with enough timely hitting and base running faux pas and it left the door open for Meridian, despite a good performance by Ram ace Grace Moll.
Sure the Rams out-hit Meridian 7 to 4 with five batters hitting safely. They reached on one error and the Rams had eight free passes, two getting hit. However, Rams were caught stealing three times out of four. Meridian got three free passes, reached on an error, and stole three bases.
Moll threw seven innings, allowing three runs (1 earned) off four hits and three walks, while striking out 13. 63.5% of her pitches were strikes. Doyle got the win going the distance and allowing just two runs on seven hits, walking six and striking out just six. By all accounts the Rams should have won.
Meridian scored first with a 2-run 3rd, both on a passed balls. The Rams have two catchers injured are in search of a catcher who can catch Arkansas-bound Moll.
Shelby got those runs back with a run in the 3rd and the 5th. Meridian won the game on a ground out in the 6th, when the Rams couldn't respond in the 6th and 7th.
Moll walked a batter with one out. The next batter singled and the lead runner went to 3rd. The lead runner scored on a passed ball. Moll walked Doyle. The other runner, now on 3rd, scored on another passed ball, 2-0.
In the 3rd, Jensen Cloe led off with a single and Kayla Brachbill walked. Moll reached on an error and the bases were loaded with no outs. Boone hit a lined shot to left field, but it was caught. Cloe tagged and scored, 2-1.
With two batters still on and only one out, another line out to left field saw Brachbill tagging up and trying to get the 3rd. She was thrown out cutting short the rally.
In the 5th, Cloe started it again, getting hit by a pitch. The next batter flied out and the courtesy runner for Cloe failed to tag the base and was called out. With two outs, Moll walked.
Madison Boone doubled Moll to 3rd. Brandy Smith hit an RBI-single scoring Moll for a tie game, 2-2. Boone had to hold up. Abbie Watton walked, but a strikeout with two men on ended that rally again.
In the 6th, Kirby hit a lead-off triple for Meridian. The next batter grounded out. Moll threw to 1st, but Kirby scored, 3-2.
Shelby only needed one run over the last two innings, but couldn't deliver. Another runner was out on the base paths in the 6th.
Moll did what she could in the 7th, striking out all three Meridian batters. It was up to the Ram hitters in the 7th to extend or win the game.
With two outs, Boone launched her second double in a row. Smith then walked to put the winning run on base. Boone tried to steal 3rd on an 2-0 pitch and was thrown out to end the game. Another runner out on the base paths.
Meridian 3, Shelbyville 2
Shelby 001 010 0--2-7-1
M'dian 002 001 0--3-4-1
Ram stats: Cloe 1-for-2, BB, run; Brachbill 1-for-3, 2B, BB; Moll 0-for-2, BB, sac, ROE, run; Boone 2-for-4, 2B; Smith 1-for-3, BB, SB, RBI; Watton HBP, BB; Fox 2-for-3; Lee 0-for-2, BB; Durbin 0-for-3. Pitching (L) Moll
M'dian stats: Foster 1-for-4, SB, run; Doyle 0-for-2, ROE, BB; Kirby 1-for-3, FC, 3B, run; Comerford 0-for-3, RBI; Kersey 0-for-3; Fonner 2-for-3, SB; Aukamp 0-for-3; Damery 0-for-3; Lewellyn 0-for-1, SB, 2 BBs, run. Pitching (W) Doyle