The 7th-ranked Rider baseball team faced unfamiliar territory entering the second game of its Region I-4A Final with Burleson. The Elks stole away game 1 yesterday, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth on the way to a 2-1 win.
After the loss, head coach Scot Green says everyone will learn a lot of his team's character in game 2. The Raiders backed coach up today at Hardin-Simmons University's Hunter Field, winning 10-0 in five innings to force game 3.
Left-handed senior Ben Smith gave his team the early spark, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. Smith finished with nine strikeouts overall.
Rider's offense scored twice in the bottom of the second. Christien Sager started it off with a triple, while Blake Born and Mason Stone drove in the pair of runs.
The early spark Smith provided turned into fire for the Raider offense in the bottom of the third. Nine straight players earned hits. Rider scored eight runs off of 11 hits overall.
Cameron Allen drove in the first and last runs of the innings. Smith, Stone, Blake Burrus and Kyler Ritchie each had an RBI.
Ritchie's RBI fired up the dugout. It appeared that Burleson would get the first out of the frame when Ritchie grounded it hard to short with the bases loaded. Burleson's Sabo Murray fired it home, but Sager beat the throw to the plate to make it 6-0. Moments later, Ben Bates drove in Brom and Stone to increase it to 8-0.
With the 10-0 victory, Rider forces a decisive game 3 tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. The Raiders won their previous game 3 this postseason, topping Frenship 11-3 in the Regional Quarterfinals.