MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Less than 24 hours after finishing two full games and two innings of a suspended game against St. Charles at home Monday, Three Rivers baseball traveled to Millington, Tennessee, and dropped both ends of a doubleheader against Dyersburg State.
The Raiders lost the first matchup 12-3 after Dyersburg State (14-6) scored in all but two innings of a seven-inning outing.
The second game had the same differential with Three Rivers ending up on the wrong end of a 9-0 shutout.
"Certainly a challenge and not the way we originally scheduled it, but we have to deal with what Mother Nature does and are forced to schedule games that can put a strain on you," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said.
With Tuesday's results, the Raiders lost their winning record, dropping to 9-9 on the year, but it didn't help that the Raiders ran into a team that is in a groove lately. The Eagles have scored 10 or more runs in five straight games.
"We only had one error on the day. Our pitchers just ran into an offense that is really hot right now," Burkey said. "Their first four hitters scored nine of their 12 runs (in the first game)."
Three Rivers never led in either game as Dyersburg State jumped out to a 5-1 lead after two innings in game one. John Rodriguez scored the Raiders' first run after initially reaching first on a fielder's choice.
The Raiders didn't score again until the fourth inning. Meanwhile, the Dyersburg State offense kept humming along, scoring three more runs in the fourth inning to stretch its lead to 8-2.
"We gave them too many runners with walks and hit by pitches, and they had some good at-bats with runners on base," Burkey said.
Three Rivers' defense had no answer in that fourth inning, walking three straight batters to load the bases with one out.
River Hunt went 3 1/3 innings on the mound in the first loss. He struck out four batters, gave up six hits and seven runs, all earned. Cameron Johnson went 1 2/3 with two strikeouts, allowing two earned runs. Jared Woodward pitched the final two innings, giving up three earned runs, walking five and striking out one.
The bottom half of the order grabbed the momentum for Dyersburg State in the second game. After both sides went scoreless in the first inning, four hits and a walk in five at-bats put the Raiders in a jam they weren't able to get out of. The final four batters scored for the Eagles, giving Three Rivers a 4-0 deficit to try to overcome.
Instead, it kept growing. Three Rivers struggled to put runners on base, while the Eagles kept building their lead. They scored two more runs in the third after a two-run homer from the seven hole increased the lead to 6-0. Another two run home run from the clean-up spot capped the scoring on a dominant day for Dyersburg State.
"Their game-two starter was a guy we really needed to get to early because he was able to get better command of of both his 88-91 mph fastball and his breaking pitch," Burkey said. "USA Stadium is the biggest field we'll play on all year, and the wind held four balls we hit well in the park that would've gone out anywhere else."
The Raiders will have a few days to regroup before their next games. They'll return home to face State Fair in a four-game region series at home over the weekend. The first doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday's games will begin at noon.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic