As Royal Oak thanked all of their supporters on Fan Appreciation Night, the Leprechauns dropped the first game of their series against the Jet Box on Saturday night, 3-1. The loss makes Royal Oak 15-21 on the year, and boosts the Jet Box to 13-22.
The difference in the game was that the Leprechauns were largely unable to come through with runners in scoring position. On the day, Royal Oak stranded eight runners on either second or third. The lone run of the game came on an RBI single by John Orberson (Murray State) in the sixth inning.
In the third, Connor McClennen (Saginaw Valley State) was left stranded at third. In the fifth, Caden Duryea (Northwood) and McClennen stood on third and second with one out. They didn’t move. In the inning where they did score a run, Royal Oak left the tying run in Jayden Lopez (UC Riverside) on third and the go-ahead run in Orberson on second. The following inning, the Leprechauns stranded the bases loaded. In the eighth, Orberson led off the inning with a double, but was cut down trying to come home, tagging up on a shallow fly ball to right field. On their final chance, USC’s Brayden Dowd stood at second as the game ended.
Despite receiving the loss, starting pitcher Christopher Schmees (Saginaw Valley State) had a great start on the mound for the Leprechauns. The only run he allowed was unearned, and he gave up only four hits and struck out four in five innings of work.
That run under Schmees’ watch came in the fourth inning. The bases were loaded with no outs after two singles and an error to open the inning. Schmees limited the damage by getting the first out on a grounder that allowed Collin Overholt (Ashland) to get the force out at home from third. Brendan Guciardo then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in a run, but Schmees struck out the next batter to end the inning.
The only other pitcher on the day was Calvin’s Nolan Coil. He surrendered a run in each of his first two innings. Zac Jones ripped an RBI double to make it 2-0 Jet Box in the top of the sixth. Following the Leprechauns’ run in the bottom of the sixth, Brady Krzciok hit an RBI single to make it 3-1 in the seventh.
Coil had a good response in his following two innings, surrendering only one hit in the eighth and ninth.
Tonight marked the end of the home schedule for the Leprechauns. They will complete their regular season schedule with two road games against the Jet Box, who they are now 0-4 against on the season.