When the Gary Southshore RailCats want to leave no doubt about something, they know how to make a statement. That proved to be the case Saturday night as the RailCats pounded out 19 hits in their 16-7 victory over the St. Paul Saints. Eight different players in the Gary lineup had at least one hit, at least one RBI, and at least one run scored to help end the Saints win streak at six.
The Gary Southshore RailCats would jump out on top with two runs in the top of the first. Alex Crosby started the game with an infield single and moved to third on a double to right by Andy DeJesus, who was re-signed earlier in the day. Andy Paz followed with a single that scored Crosby and Colin Willis brought in DeJesus with a base hit to left. That made it 2-0.
The Saints would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the first. Jeff McKenzie retired the first two batters of the inning, but Brady Shoemaker kept the inning alive with a double. Jayce Boyd followed with a single that scored Shoemaker and it was 2-1.
In the second, the RailCats would blow the game open against St. Paul starter Jeff Malm. The Saints starter struck out the first batter of the frame, but walked Cale Fabio before giving up a single to Alex Crosby. Fabio stole third and came home on a fielder’s choice by DeJesus. Andy Paz singled into left before Willis plated both runners with a double. Garrett Copeland followed with a double of his own to score Willis and he came home on a single by Wilfredo Gimenez.
Trailing by six the Saints would respond with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Once again, McKenzie retired the first two batters, but Josh Allen was hit by a pitch before J.J. Gould singled to center. Richard Prigatano followed with a single to left that brought in Allen. Gould scored on a misplay by the left fielder for the second run of the inning. Max Murphy followed with a double that scored Prigatano and it was 7-4.
St. Paul had gotten themselves back in the game, but the RailCats put up eight in the top of the third to take a commanding lead. Reggie Wilson started the inning with a double and scored on a single by D.K. Carey. Fabio walked before Crosby walked to load the bases. A wild pitch plated Carey and DeJesus followed with a single that scored both runners to make it 10-4. Paz reached on an error before DeJesus scored on a double by Willis.
Ryan Boelter came on in relief and Copeland greeted him with a fly ball to left that was dropped for an error. Willis scored. Two batters later, Wilson doubled to score Willis and he came home on a single by Carey. That made it 15-4.
St. Paul would get three of those runs back in the bottom of the third. Noah Perio, Jr. singled with one out and came home on Dante Bichette, Jr.’s first homer of the year. Kes Carter followed with his second home run of the year to make it 15-7.
The two teams scored 22 runs through the first three frames, but then the bats went silent. Neither team scored over the next two frames, but the RailCats would finally add a run in the sixth. Wilson doubled to start the frame and moved to third on a single by Carey. He came home on a ground out by Fabio to extend the lead to nine.
That would be the final run of the game. Both bullpens pitched well in the final three innings as the game ended 16-7.
Five different players had at least 3-hits for the Gary Southshore RailCats. Andy DeJesus made an impressive return, going 3-6 with 3-runs and 3-RBI and Colin Willis was 3-5 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. Jayce Boyd had 3-hits and an RBI for the Saints.
The loss snapped the six game winning streak of the Saints. They will look to take the rubber match of this contest tomorrow. Vinny Nittoli (1-0, 0.00) will look to follow up his six shutout performance in his last outing, taking on Daniel Minor (1-0, 5.40). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05.
By Robert Pannier