Where Baseball is TONS of Fun!

Credit: Jason Hopkins, Texarkana Gazette

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Texarkana Rhinos kicked off their inaugural baseball season against the Fort Smith Marshals on Thursday night on the road at Crowder Field with an extra inning showdown.

Unfortunately, Texarkana (0-1) lost the season opener, but it came down to the wire, with a 10-9 defeat to Fort Smith (1-0) in 11 innings.

Texarkana struck first in the opening inning with a two-run home run from catcher Lane Epperson before the Marshals answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame and an additional four runs in the second inning to take a 7-2 lead. Epperson finished the night going 3-for-4 at the plate with a game-high five RBIs for the Rhinos.

In the third inning, the Rhinos continued to fight back, adding two more runs with an RBI single from first baseman Mason Sellers and an Antonio Sabala fielder’s choice. The Texarkana team came within a run of the lead after right fielder Wyatt Cunningham took advantage of a wild pitch, and Epperson drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in shortstop Sota Suzuki.

After his homer in the first inning, Epperson added RBIs to his season total in the top of the sixth when he ripped a two-run double to center field. Sellers and J Glymph scored on the play to knot the score at 8-all.

After a pair of scoreless innings, Texarkana took its second lead of the game in the top of the ninth when Cunningham belted an RBI double to right field to score second baseman Matt Beuka.

However, Fort Smith matched that with an RBI double of its own in the bottom of the frame to send it into extra innings.

Neither team scored in the 10th and the Marshals sealed it in bottom of the 11th with a walk-off single from K. DeLeon.

The Rhinos will be back in action on Friday night, taking on Fort Smith for the second game of the four-game series. After that, they will travel to Abilene, Texas, to take on the Flying Bison for a three-game stand before their home opener against Fort Smith on May 31 at George Dobson Field.

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