Gillette Roughriders Cool Off the Laramie Rangers
Some struggles defensively and on the mound cost the Laramie Rangers, as they were swept by the Gillette Roughriders in a conference doubleheader Wednesday at Cowboy Field.
Laramie (23-14, 0-6) lost both games and remains winless in league play during this 2020 season.
Gillette (33-9, 2-0) steadily pulled away in the opener for a 10-1 victory. In the nightcap, the Roughriders rallied for a 4-3 win.
Rangers’ manager Aaron Lozano said anytime you play Gillette, they’re going to take advantage of mistakes you make and that’s what happened tonight (Wednesday).
“Unfortunately for us, the mistakes came, especially in game two, at a really inopportune time. Which really puts our backs against the wall and really just an unacceptable way to lose a baseball game.”
Game two saw Laramie jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. A two-out rally was highlighted by Tyler Oppie’s RBI-single and Ben Ruckman followed with a 2-run double.
The score stayed that way until the fifth when Gillette scored their first run on a sacrifice fly. Down 3-1 in the seventh, the Roughriders capitalized on two errors by the Rangers, a walk, and a suicide squeeze for three runs and took a 4-3 lead. Laramie was retired in order in the bottom of that inning.
“When you’ve worked so hard to get to where you’re at (3-1 lead in the final inning), to put yourself in a position to win a game, to continue a hot streak, to beat good baseball teams, those little plays are plays that we just have to have,” said Lozano.
Oppie started game two and threw six innings but got a no-decision. He allowed one run on three hits with eight strikeouts and four walks. Brandon Chavez was the tough-luck losing pitcher.
Game one was scoreless for the first two innings. After Gillette scored three in the third, Laramie answered with a Caleb Eaton RBI-single that cut it to 3-1. The Roughriders took advantage of two errors by the Rangers in the fourth and extended to a 5-1 lead. They added four in the fifth and one in the seventh for the final margin, 10-1. Ryan Chamberlain went six innings but suffered the loss on the mound for Laramie.
The Rangers had only four hits in game one, led by Eaton’s two. They were held to five hits in game two and no one had more than one.
The lack of offense was a concern for Lozano.
“Regardless of what we did on the mound, with that kind of offense, we’re not going to beat a Gillette or (Cheyenne) Post Six or even a good Evanston team, right now.”
Lozano also knows, sitting where they are in the conference standings, it will be a battle from here.
“These guys have proven they can hang with those guys (Gillette, Cheyenne Post Six, Sheridan), but I really do think it’s a mental block to know that they can hang with these teams consistently. Talent-wise, we’re right there, but we’ve got to settle down and just make routine plays. We do that, we can hang with anybody in the state.”
The Rangers head on the road to Rock Springs to face the Sand Puppies in a doubleheader on Sunday at 1 p.m.