After not scoring for six innings, the Laramie Rangers forced an extra inning, but still lost to the Cheyenne Hawks, 9-8, Wednesday night at Cowboy Field.

Laramie (2-9) dropped its third straight game and all three have been to a single-A opponent.

The Rangers were shut down offensively through six innings by two Hawks pitchers, who limited Laramie to only three hits and four total baserunners.

Manager Brandon Ruckman admitted it was a wild night.

“Just couldn’t get the sticks going. No big hits. We got hits with two outs early on, but we were shutout through six (innings). Albert (Steiner) pitched fairly decent, but we had to have the sticks behind him. For some reason, their pitching kept us off balance and couldn’t get the timing and out front a lot today. So, we need to address that this week and move forward.”

Cheyenne scored one run in the first, fourth and sixth innings for a 3-0 lead and were one out away from a shutout when the Rangers rallied.

After a couple of groundouts, Laramie’s Albert Steiner hit a line-drive up the middle that was nearly caught by Hawks’ shortstop Trenton Rodriguez, but he failed to hold on, and it kept the Rangers alive.

After a single by Caleb Eaton, Matt Smith followed with an RBI double down the right-field line. Two walks led to a run being forced in, and Laramie was within 3-2. A fielder’s choice on a ground ball up the middle off the bat of Baden Jordan was fielded by Rodriguez, but his toss to second was dropped. It allowed the tying run to cross the plate before Cheyenne picked up the loose baseball and tagged out a Laramie runner off second base.

The game went to the eighth, where Cheyenne exploded for six runs on four hits. They also took advantage of a Rangers error with two outs that kept the frame going.

Ruckman said it’s tough to come back from that.

“Kudos to the boys for fighting back and not giving up, but it’s a little too late at that point.”

Laramie responded with five runs of their own. A two-run double by Will Yates got the Rangers within 9-8. There were runners at second and third with one out and a shot to win it. After a strikeout made the second out, a hit batter loaded the bases, but a fly ball to center ended the game.

Eaton led the offensive attack with two hits. Ramon Gomez took the loss in relief of starter Albert Steiner.

The Hawks used six pitchers, including four in the last two innings to preserve their victory. They had 10 total hits, two apiece by five different players.

Ruckman added, “I know the morale’s down right now with them losing to two single-A teams, we just need to find our mojo, I guess, and keep plugging away.”

The Rangers return to action Saturday with a doubleheader in Casper against the Oilers. It starts at noon.

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