Where Baseball is TONS of Fun!

By: Cade Haak, Broadcaster and Writer for the Texarkana Rhinos

TEXARKANA, TX (June 1, 2024) – The Texarkana Rhinos fell to the Fort Smith Marshals 19-5 in the home opener of their inaugural season, and 8-3 in the second game of the 5-game home stand. 

Game one started at 6:05 p.m. at George Dobson Field. Both teams started off the game firing. The Marshals plated 3 runs on 4 hits in the top of the first. The Rhinos retaliated with 2 runs of their own in the bottom of the first.  

The Texarkana Native Mason Sellers (Central Baptist College) started on the mound for the Rhinos, but after the early onslaught from the Marshals, Sellers was taken out of the game after just pitching 1.0 inning and giving up eleven runs, ten of which were earned. For the Marshals, the pitcher given the starting nod was Zeke Hirsch. Hirsch notched the win with a statline of 1.0 inning pitched, five walks, three earned runs, and one hit. 

Despite a tight first inning, the Marshals were able to use an offensive explosion in the second inning to propel them to a large win in the first of the two games. The ten run second inning put them largely ahead, and they continued to grow the lead as the game went on. 

Lane Epperson had two RBIs for the Rhinos in the first game, while Jackson Glymph, Matt Bueka, and Yota Mimura all added one of their own. While the Marshals were led by Eli Merritt and Elija West, who both had four RBIs to their name in the game.

Between the two games, the home opener festivities continued with a fireworks show that seemed to help spark up momentum for the Rhinos. The second game of the night proved to be the polar opposite of the first; in game one, we saw the bats take the spotlight, but in game two, the stars were on the mound. 

Solomon James took the mound for the Rhinos, while Oracio De Leon did the same for the visiting Marshals. The first two innings were highlighted by strikeouts, but in the top of the third inning, the Marshals opened up scoring with a single from Keypher DeLeon driving in Garcia to set the lead at 1-0. 

Next, the Rhinos responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth when Rylan Evans singled to bring in Ian Guanzon, who had doubled previously in the inning. The sixth inning then saw both teams work across one more run, that being Lopez brought in on an error for Fort Smith and Natividad being driven in by Evans on a double that found green grass. 

Despite dominant performances for both starting pitchers, both ended the game with a “no decision” as the game remained tied until they were removed. Coleton Payson was able to come in and earn the win for Fort Smith after the game, which was originally scheduled for 7 innings, worked its way into extra innings. 

In the eighth inning, both teams scored one run to tie the game up at three, but it was ultimately a five-run ninth inning that earned Fort Smith the second win of the evening and caused Texarkana to fall to 1-6 on the season. 

First pitch is scheduled to take place at 7:05 on June 2nd for game three between these two teams before the Rhinos prepare to protect the Zoo in a two-game series at home June 4-5 against the Joplin Outlaws. 

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