Where Baseball is TONS of Fun!

By Cade Haak

Texarkana, TX (June 12th, 2024) – The Texarkana Rhinos won both games of a midweek double header against the Joplin Outlaws with scores of 12-9 in game one and 4-0 in game two. 

In game one, the Rhinos gave the starting nod to Brandon Cardenas, while the Joplin Outlaws started Josh Munoz on the mound. The two pitchers had similar starts to their afternoons, but ultimately it was the arm of Cardenas for the Rhinos that was able to withstand the opposing team’s offensive pressure. Cardenas pitched 6.0 innings, allowing 8 hits, 6 runs, and stacking up 7 strikeouts. Munoz had a very different fate in the game against the red-hot bats of the Rhinos, as he pitched just 1.1 innings, allowing six runs on four hits for the Rhinos as well as walking four Rhinos hitters.

Texarkana began the game in emphatic fashion as they scored four runs in the first inning. The first run was scored on a wild pitch by Wyatt Cunningham, who led off the game with a single. Next, Neil Jansen scored when Rylan Evans singled into left field. After being hit by a pitch, Gabriel Natividad was driven in by Yuto Mimura, who was able to hit the ball back up the middle for a single into center field. The fourth and final run of the first inning was scored when Jackson Glymph was walked with the bases loaded to allow Evans to score. 

The Outlaws responded to this in the top of the second with four runs of their own, as Landin Midgette and Andre Jackson were both able to record two RBIs with hits that found gaps in the outfield. This slight bump in the Rhinos path did not deter them, though, as they added two more runs to their total in the bottom of the inning. The first run came when Neil Jansen hit a solo home run well over the outfield wall to take back the Rhinos lead, and then Rylan Evans was able to add another RBI to his stat sheet by knocking home Gabriel Natividad, who walked in the previous at bat. 

Joplin added single runs to their total in both of the following two innings, but they were unable to keep up with the pace at which Texarkana’s offense was working. In the bottom of the third, Texarkana added two runs off of a single that was drilled past the shortstop by Natividad. The bottom of the fourth saw the Rhinos add two more runs after they were able to get the bases loaded by way of two walks and a single by Jackson Glymph. After the bases were loaded, Ian Gaunzon and Neil Jansen were hit by pitches in back-to-back at bats to bring in the two scores. Then, the final scoring of the game came for the Rhinos in the bottom of the fifth inning when Rylan Evans singled into center field to get on base and then was driven in when Mimura was able to loft a single into shallow right field. Following this, Matt Beuka, who walked on earlier in the inning, scored on a throwing error by the catcher as Mimura stole second base. 

With the Rhinos lead sitting at a comfortable 12-6, the sixth inning was quiet before the Outlaws made one final push to come back in the top of the 7th of game one. To start off the final inning, Cole Hill hit a long double into right center field off the fresh arm of Yuto Mimura. Mimura then walked Gabe Russell on base, which was followed up by a CJ Cepicky three-run home run off of an off-speed pitch from Mimura that hung over the middle of the plate. This three-run shot put a quick end to Mimura’s night on the mound as the Rhinos brought in Landon Richey to slam the door on the Outlaws comeback attempts. 

In game 2, it was the team’s defenses that took center stage, as the game ultimately ended with a final score of just 4-0. The two starting pitchers were the stars of this game as the Texarkana native Mason Sellers put on a show in front of his hometown crowd, and Xavier Fosbenner did his best to spoil Sellers efforts. 

Sellers final statistics were 4.0 innings pitched and just one hit allowed; he carried a no-hitter through three innings before CJ Cepicky recorded the only hit of the ball game for the Joplin Outlaws. Xavier Fosbenner recorded a loss despite putting up a great showing of 5.0 innings pitched, 3 hits allowed, 2 earned runs, and 8 K’s on the evening. Ultimately, it was errors and five untimely walks that led to Fosbenner and the OUtlaws downfall. 

Texarkana opened the game scoring in the bottom of the third when a slow rolling ground ball down the third baseline off the bat of Ian Guanzon was enough to score Christian Rosales from third base. They followed this up with a single run in the fourth, when Sebastian Huerta scored an unearned run on an errant throw. Next, the fifth inning was started by a Natividad double, followed up by a Huerta single to move Natividad to third before Sota Suzuki was able to hit a fly ball that carried deep enough into right field to earn himself a sacrifice fly. Then the final run of game two was scored after Rylan Evans was pushed to third by a double just shy of clearing the outfield fence by Jansen, and then Ian Guanzon hit a ball into no man’s land in between the second baseman and right fielder that allowed Evans to advance home. 

On top of the four-run game for the Rhinos, Bond, a new addition to the team, continued the trend of great pitching that Mason Sellers had started by posting 3.0 innings pitched and no runs or hits allowed to add a save to his stats. 

These two wins secure the series win for the Rhinos just one day after the Outlaws were able to pitch a complete game shutout to win game one of the series.

Next Up:

The Rhinos hit the road to take on the Sherman Shadowcats in a three-game series starting June 18th. 

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