The Rams baseball seasons is getting off to a varied start, because of the weather and the win/loss record.
The Rams opened up their season in Arizona during spring break, leaving the cold wintery weather behind, and headed towards sunshine and warmth. The team started off by traveling to the Des Moines airport at 2:00 in the morning on Thursday, March 7, to fly to Tucson. The first games did not start until Friday, March 8.
On the eighth, the Rams split a doubleheader against Presentation College (South Dakota), losing the first game 6-5 and winning the second 13-7. Starting the first game was Jeremy Ryan (14). He pitched six innings yielding four earned runs. Meanwhile on the offensive side of the ball centerfielder Joe Gerace (14) was beginning his torrid start to the spring by contributing two hits in four at-bats. The second game the Rams fared much better. Pitcher Kyle Stennes (15) pitched five and two thirds innings to get his first win of the year and the team’s first win. Gerace had a spectacular second game, as well, recording four hits in six at bats and five runs batted in (RBI).
On Saturday, March 9, the Rams lost two close games to Northland College. Beriah Quick (15) got the nod to start the first game of the day’s doubleheader, pitching to the tune of three earned runs with two strikeouts. The Rams’ bats seemed dormant on the day as the lineup was only able to produce three runs on eight hits. Gerace supplied two of the hits as his blistering start continued. In game 2, the Rams managed more offense but a saw lackluster pitching. Jared Henry (16) got the start for his first collegiate game. Nerves were a factor in the way he pitched as he gave up six earned runs to go along with five walks. Zach Rogers (13) paced the Rams offense going two for three and recording a triple in the eventual 9-7 loss.
The Rams played their first nine inning game on Sunday, March 10 against Marian University. Chuck Rocker (16) got the start but lasted only three and one third innings. During those innings he allowed 9 runs with four of the runs being earned. Rocker and the Rams pitching staff for the day were plagued by bad defense as the Rams committed five errors in the field. The Rams offense contributed seven runs along with twelve hits.
The next game the Rams played was on Tuesday, March 12 in another nine inning affair, following two days off. This was a close game throughout with the Rams getting the upper-hand in the end. Ryan got the nod for his second start of the year. Much like his first start Ryan provided innings and kept his team in the game. The Hawaiian Assassin, Tyler Thorne (15), relieved Ryan, pitching two and two thirds innings and continuing his stellar performance from last year by allowing no runs and striking out three. Tyler Riggs (16) got his first collegiate win in his first action of the season, pitching one inning. The Rams lineup featured good performances from the top third of the batting order. Leadoff man Gerace went two for four with three runs followed by catcher Buddy Mattern (16), who contributed three hits in five at bats. Batting third was Rogers who capped off the big day for the three by going four for five with five RBIs. The Rams won on a total team effort 9-8.
The last day of the Arizona swing, was a forgettable one as the Rams were badly beaten 11-3. The pitcher of record was Stennes who went five innings but allowed seven earned runs. Gerace led the way for the offense and capped off a very memorable trip by going four for four. On the trip he went an astounding 17 for 28.
The Rams did not bring warmer weather with them upon their return to Iowa. Playing ten days after their last game in Arizona the Rams were met by cold temperatures and snowflakes on the field. The Rams were fortunate to play on an all turf field in Altoona. Scheduled for four games mother nature forced the cancellation of two games. Again facing Presentation College in a doubleheader the Rams took to the outdoors for the first time all year (in Iowa). Jarrod Henry pitched better in his second collegiate start going six and one third innings allowing three earned runs. Gerace continued his fabulous season by going four for four at the plate in game one. The Rams got off to an early lead thanks to a Rogers’ home run in the bottom of the first inning. This was a back and forth game after that, eventually going into extra innings. The Rams gave up three runs in the top of the eleventh inning and could only answer one of the runs in the bottom half. The final score for game one was 9-7 in favor of Presentation. The cold temperatures cooled off the Rams offense, including the red hot Gerace, who would come up with three runs in the second game. Quick fought the elements well, pitching six innings and allowing only one earned run. The result for the second game did not go in the Rams’ favor as they lost 6-3.
The Rams travel to play in the Metrodome before kicking off their home slate with the first game of the season in Mount Vernon on April 2 at 5 PM versus familiar IIAC foe Central College.
Appeared in Print: March 25, 2013