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Rams down TAMIU Dustdevils, extend win streak to four

Baseball continues as third on conference

By Deundra Smyth
On April 20, 2017

Photo by Brit Raley
Matt Waller, senior, catches a strike from Matt Shannon. Waller had two putouts against TAMUI.

Ram Baseball swept the three-game series against the Texas A&M International Dustdevils April 14-15.

This sweep improved the Rams’ record to 29-8, while the Dustdevils fell to 10-24 on the year.

Offense for the Rams was on the ball, outscoring the Dustdevils by an overall margin of 21-5, which sets the Rams at third in the Lone Star Conference.

The action began on Friday with an evening doubleheader, which the Rams dominated in an impressive fashion.

In the 6-0 series opening win, junior pitcher Matt Shannon started and quickly showed why the coaches trusted him.

Shannon pitched the entire seven-inning game and shut out the Dustdevils, only giving up three hits in the process. He also failed to walk a batter on his way to clinching his sixth victory of the season.

With two runs scoring in the first and second innings, the Rams’ offense quickly began giving Shannon the run support he would need in order to continue his stellar pitching performance.

The Rams added four additional runs in the sixth thanks in large part to the initial burst by Steven Pinales and Jacob Boston, who both tripled in the inning, helping to extend the lead.

After winning the series opener, ASU would see senior Ryan Smith take the mound for in the second part of Friday’s doubleheader.

Smith also pitched a full seven innings before the Rams decided to go to their bullpen to close the game.

Early scoring by Boston and a homerun by pinch hitter Michael Urquidi in the fifth opened up the game up for the Rams’ offense and provided the run support to seal the 10-3 victory.

Boston, a junior from Arizona, also added a homerun of his own in the seventh inning, increasing his season total to seven. This mark leads the Rams and takes third in the LSC.

In Saturday’s finale, the Dustdevils gave the Rams a much tougher test, but eventually fell, 5-2.

A two-run, third-inning homer by Pinales would give the Rams a lead and starting pitcher Shane Browning would do all he could to ensure the Dustdevils’ scoring opportunities were limited.

Although TAMIU tied the game up in the sixth-inning, ASU would quickly regain the lead and hold on for the win.

Head Coach Kevin Brooks was pleased with the effort his team put forth this week, although he remains adamant that they have to continue to improve as the season continues.

"The pitchers did a great job of eliminating the big inning," Brooks said. "Obviously, we kept them from scoring a lot and our defense was really good. So it was a good overall weekend and we did what we needed to do."

Pinales, who had two RBIs in his four at bats in the finale, talked about his confidence level and how this team plays together to continue winning.

"I was hitting the ball pretty well and honestly, just felt confident at the plate," Pinales said. "I just try to keep the same approach no matter what, throughout the games, and see how everything works out."

That approach has allowed the Rams to win four straight games and gives them the best overall record in the LSC.

The Rams will try to extend their win streak on Friday, April 21 on the road against the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds in Portales, New Mexico.

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