Struggling River Riders drop series opener late to WhistlePigs
Published 8:12 am Friday, June 24, 2022
By: Andrew Smith
The Princeton WhistlePigs (9-11) outdueled the Elizabethton River Riders (9-11) on Thursday night by a final score of 3-2. Right fielder Irvin Weems III went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
The game marked the ninth loss for the River Riders in their last ten games, with the lone win in the stretch being a win on Tuesday against the Bluefield Ridge Runners. E-Town now falls to eight games behind the first-place Kingsport Axmen.
Princeton and Elizabethton were engaged in a pitcher’s duel throughout the night, as the first run of the night would not come until the bottom of the sixth inning. To lead off the frame, right fielder Morgan Colopy hit a home run, giving the River Riders their first hit as well as their first run.
The River Riders looked to add on in the frame, as left fielder Brendan Jones and third baseman Brody Green walked following the homer. After a strikeout, designated hitter Alex McCoy walked to load the bases. However, the WhistlePigs were able to induce a double play to end the inning, keeping the game at 1-0 through six.
In the top of the seventh, Princeton was able to get the run back. After loading the bases themselves, first baseman Landon Reeves hit a slow ground ball to second baseman Ty Peters that brought home second baseman AJ Solomon. It was 1-1 at the seventh-inning stretch.
Elizabethton took the lead back in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs in the frame, Green was able to reach base and make it to second on a throwing error by WhistlePig third baseman Ahmir Cournier. Then, first baseman Brennan Orf was able to reach on another error by Princeton, a dropped throw by Reeves, allowing Green to score. After eight, it was 2-1 E-Town.
However, the WhistlePigs were able to battle back in the top of the ninth. Designated hitter Mitchell Okuley led off the frame with a base on balls. Then, after a strikeout, Weems hit a long two-run home run to left-center field, giving Princeton their first lead of the night at 3-2.
In the bottom of the ninth, catcher Cayden Phillips was able to reach on another WhistlePigs error to lead off the inning. After a pair of strikeouts, center fielder Zach Freeman was hit by a pitch and Colopy walked to load the bases with two outs. However, no runs would score as Jones flew out to center to end the game.
The two teams will finish their two-game series on Friday night. First pitch is at 7 p.m. at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark.
Final R H E
WhistlePigs 3 6 4
River Riders 2 1 1
W: Parker (1-0)
L: Pennington (0-1)
S: Cockerham (1)