Gonzalez Grand Slam Helps Propel RailCats Past Dogs
By Zach Letson, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Rosemont, IL – Thanks to their first grand slam of 2023 and a combined bullpen effort, the Gary SouthShore RailCats (33-42) prevailed 8-6 over the Chicago Dogs (38-37) in their first matchup at Impact Field in 2023.
Julio Vivas was called upon out of the bullpen early and came up big. Entering in the first inning with one out and runners on second and third, Vivas struck out back-to-back All-Stars in Josh Altmann and Dylan Rosa to eliminate the threat, keeping the game scoreless through one inning.
The ‘Cats immediately made a statement in the top of the second inning. Jacob Bockelie roped a double to get the frame started before back-to-back walks from LG Castillo and Francisco Del Valle loaded the bases with no outs. That set the scene for newcomer Marcos Gonzalez to make a big impression in his first week on the South Shore.
Gonzalez unloaded on a no-doubt grand slam to left field, giving the RailCats a 4-0 lead with one swing.
The offense did not stop there in the second inning. After being hit by a pitch, Gio Díaz raced all the way home from first base on a Jackson Valera single as the very next batter. Gary SouthShore took a commanding 5-0 lead.
Vivas continued to impress from there. The right-hander exited after the fifth inning following 4.2 relief innings pitched, yielding just three hits and one unearned run.
However, Chicago battled back. One run in the third and four more in the sixth inning tied the game at five through six innings.
As the score stood level at five runs apiece, the ‘Cats wasted no time answering back. In the seventh, Díaz once again reached base with a walk, before Valera connected on a double, placing two runners in scoring position.
One batter later, Jesus Marriaga drove in his team-best 57th RBI with a run-scoring single, plating Díaz, and Gary SouthShore immediately had its lead back, 6-5.
Valera and Marriaga scored moments later after a ground ball turned into an error from Chicago pitcher D.J. Snelton, and the Gary SouthShore lead ballooned to three at 8-5.
From there, a three-man bullpen effort closed the door. Joan Valdez, Jack Eisenbarger, and DJ Wilkinson propelled the ‘Cats past the finish line with an 8-6 victory.
The RailCats return to Impact Field tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. their second matchup in this three-game series against the Dogs. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv and broadcast over the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network via the Mixlr app.