E.A. Sports Today

Silent Rain

Espinosa drives in two runs, and Oxford’s Vipers struggle to get runners home while falling 8-3 in series opener against USSSA Pride

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — On a night that saw the start of the game delayed almost two hours by rain, it was Silent Rain that did in Oxford’s Smash-it-Sports Vipers as they lost Saturday’s opener of a three-game series against the USSSA Pride, 8-3.

Pride right fielder Silent Rain Espinosa drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run in the first inning. She had two hits and a walk in the game.

Ali Aguiler did her share of damage, also, with three hits and a hit batter and two RBIs.

“I am swinging the bat real well right now, and it was very challenging with the good pitching we were going up against,” Aguiler said.

The Vipers had runners all over the place but left 12 on base..   

“We had good scouting reports on these guys, and we were trying to make it a point to get the lead-off batter out,” Aguiler said, “but they kept coming at us, and we just had to play good defense and be on top of our game.”

The Pride opened the scoring in the top of the first when lead-off hitter Kayla Kowalik reached on an infield single. She advanced on an error and scored on Espinosa’s triple into the left-field corner. 

Espinosa scored when the next batter, Aguiler, singled for a 2-0 lead.

Vipers pitcher Sierra Hyland settled in and struck out the next seven Pride batters, and the Pride led 2-0 going to the fourth inning.

The Vipers had two golden opportunities for runs in the first and third innings. They had two runners on base with no outs in the first and two runners on in the third inning with one out but could not get runs. 

Suzy Brookshire had two singles, Brook Wilmes a walk and Tatyana Forbes a single in those two innings.

The Vipers broke through for a run in the fourth when Chelsea Gonzalez and Alissa Dalton had one-out singles. Pinch-hitter Makena Smith walked to load the bases. Wilmes was hit by a pitch, and that forced in Gonzales. 

However, the rally ended when Brookshire popped to right for the third out.

The Pride broke loose in the top of the fifth with three two-out hits, scoring two runs and knocking Hyland out of the game for Annie Willis. On her first pitch, the Pride stole home to lead 5-1.

The Vipers picked up single runs in the last two innings, but the Pride picked up three more runs.

Dalton had a big night at the plate with three hits, two in the last two innings.

”We gave it everything we had and just could not score enough runs,” Dalton said.

Brookshire had two hits and a walk and had a hard-hit ball to right that was caught with the bases loaded.

”I am seeing the ball good but was disappointed that I did not drive in any runs on the night,” Brookshire said.

Hyland struck out eight Pride batters before being lifted in the fifth inning.

The Vipers fall to 2-9, while the Pride improved to (3-9).

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