River Riders split road doubleheader with State Liners
Published 9:07 am Thursday, August 4, 2022
By: Andrew Smith
BRISTOL, Va. – The Elizabethton River Riders (23-26) split a doubleheader on Wednesday night against the Bristol State Liners (14-35), winning game one 11-3 and losing game two 7-2.
The split ensured that the River Riders will end the 2022 campaign with a losing record, the first for the club since the Appalachian League became a collegiate wood bat league in 2021.
The first game of the doubleheader saw the State Liners take an early lead. Eric Erato, who was honored with the team MVP award between games, doubled to bring home Max Tracey to score the first run. Then, Tahir Muelens doubled home Erato and Sean Smith to extend the lead to 3-0.
Elizabethton responded by getting four runs in the top of the second. The inning began with a solo home run to right field by Carlo Zorola. With two outs, Isaac Williams singled to bring home Reagan Guthrie. He was followed up by Brendan Jones doubling to score Williams and Marcus Sanders. After one and a half, the River Riders now lead 4-3.
The top of the third saw the Riders tack on one more run. With runners on the corners and no outs, Guthrie hit into a double play, which allowed Zorola to score. The E-Town lead was extended to 5-3.
The River Riders poured it on in the sixth inning, as they plated six runs in the frame. They did so on five hits, a walk, an error and a hit by pitch. There were RBI from Nelson Smith, Zorola, and Sanders, two on hits and one by the hit by pitch. In total, ten Riders came to the plate as they extended the lead to 11-3.
That is where the score would stay. After five impressive innings from starter Baker Cox, Ryan Widmeier followed it up with two scoreless innings, preserving the game one win.
Final/7 (Game 1) R H E LOB
River Riders 11 14 0 7
State Liners 3 6 2 7
W: Baker Cox (3-1)
L: Jude King (0-2)
The second contest of the evening also saw the State Liners bring home the game’s first runs. They put up four runs in the second inning on just one hit. They were aided by two walks and three Elizabethton errors in the frame, with the lone hit being an RBI single by Erato. Through two full, Bristol led 4-0.
Bristol added on a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Brandon Nigh hit an RBI groundout to third, allowing Tracey to score from third base. The State Liner lead was now at 5-0.
The River Riders were able to get on the board in the top of the fifth. Sanders came home on a wild pitch from starter Drew Rudsinski to cut the deficit to 5-1.
E-Town got another run closer in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Smith went to steal third base from second, where he was safe and was able to come home as the throw to third went into left field, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
However, that is as close as the Riders would get. Bristol got two more runs in their half of the sixth. The State Liners got a pair of run-scoring hits, one from Erato and one from Nigh, extending the lead to 7-2.
The two clubs will meet one last time in the 2022 season on Thursday. A traditional nine-inning affair will start at 7 p.m. from Boyce Cox Field.
Final/7 (Game 2) R H E LOB
River Riders 2 2 6 4
State Liners 7 6 3 9
W: Drew Rudsinski (1-3)
L: Evan Loeser (1-3)