The EDA Rhinos fell short against their foes in the second contest at the Asia Series yesterday afternoon, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium to remain winless at 0-2.
Failure to come up with the timely hits haunted the first-half Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) champions once again, as they batted a futile 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, including three strikeouts and hitting into a double play to squander several scoring opportunities.
The Rhinos actually had the bases loaded with no outs against Canberra starter Mike Ekstrom of the US in the bottom of the fourth in a golden scoring opportunity, but the former major leaguer managed to strike out Su Jian-rong of the Rhinos before getting Lin Wei-en to ground into an inning-ending double play to deny the hosts what could have been a big inning.
“We just couldn’t get the big hits to drive in the runs, even though we had almost the same number of hits as [Cavalry],” EDA Rhinos manager Dallas Williams said after the game.
Injuries to his players also took its toll, as the Rhinos played without the services of several regular starters in the game.
The showdown between the defending champs of the ABL and the Rhinos saw the visitors drawing first blood with a run in the top of the second, when Mike Wells doubled off Rhinos starter Matt Torra and scored on Aaron Sloan’s ground-rule double to deep-left.
The score remained at 1-0 with neither offense able to plate another run against the solid pitching of Torra and Ekstrom through the eighth, before the visitors tacked on an insurance run in the ninth on a wild pitch by Torra with runners at the corners to seal the victory that marked the ABL’s first in the two trips it has made to the Asia Series.
Picking up the win was Ekstrom, who was named the game MVP for his outstanding 6-1/3 innings of shutout ball on eight hits, while the loss was charged against Torra, who pitched deep into the ninth with two allowed runs on 10 hits before being relieved.
The loss also knocked the Rhinos out of the competition and they can now only enjoy the rest of the five-day event from the comfort of the spectators’ stand.
LIONS 10, UNIPOL FORTITUDO 0
The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) champions the Uni-President Lions teed off against Unipol Fortitudo of Italy by blanking the defending European Cup champions in a 10-0 shutout in seven innings to garner an impressive win in their first game of the Asia Series.
Lions starter Wang Ching-ming was virtually untouchable as the right-hander allowed just two hits over five spectacular frames to keep the Italian bats at bay, before Liao Wen-yang followed with a perfect sixth and seventh to keep the shutout intact.
Offensively for the home Cats, Lin Chih-hsiang’s three-for-five hitting with a pair of RBIs led a high-octane lineup that racked up 11 hits to plate 10 runs on the night.
Wang was credited with the win.
His counterpart and former Lions starter Giancarlo Alvarado suffered the loss, with four allowed runs on as many hits over 1-1/3 innings of play.