Saints Rally Late to Down RailCats, 4-2
GARY, IND. — Two hitless innings from Nick Floyd in his professional baseball debut and the first professional home run from Tom Walraven wasn’t enough for the RailCats on Father’s Day at U.S. Steel Yard as Gary lost to the St. Paul Saints, 4-2, in the rubber game on a cool and windy afternoon. Gary finished their six-game homestand 2-4 following Sunday’s defeat and have now dropped three consecutive series and seven of their last nine contests.
Trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, Gary scored the game’s final run in the bottom of the ninth, put the tying run on second base and even put the game-winning run on first base but couldn’t complete the comeback win. Andy De Jesus ended a 0-for-19 slide with a single to center on the first pitch he saw before Danny De La Calle drew a four-pitch walk. Ray Jones then grounded out up the first base line for the first out of the frame, however, did advance both runners into scoring position. Alex Crosby then replaced Chase Dawson as a pinch hitter and drew the second of three walks in the inning. Walraven struck out for the second out before Evan Marzilli drew a bases-loaded walk, bringing home De Jesus from third. Marcus Mooney then replaced Zach Welz as a pinch-hitter with the tying run on second and the game winning run on first but grounded out to Chesny Young at third to end the game.
Jordan Jess (1-0) recorded his first win with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief while Landon Beck notched a hold with 1.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Saints closer Todd Van Steensel (8) secured the win with his second save of the series and eighth of the year despite allowing a run on three walks and a single in the bottom of the ninth.
Lars Liguori (3-3) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs on a season-high 12 hits over seven innings of relief. The left-hander allowed a hit in every inning but walked only one and struck out one in his first relief outing of the season.
Floyd signed his first professional baseball contract with the ‘Cats before the game and retired all six batters he faced, two via strikeouts, in his pro debut. A native of Elkhart, Ind., and a recent graduate of Ball State University, Floyd struck out the first batter he faced to begin his career and the game.
Walraven gave Gary (12-15) a 1-0 lead with his first professional home run in the fifth. Walraven’s solo shot just stayed inside the left field line and increased his season-high on-base streak to 18 games.
St. Paul (19-9) took the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh. Jeremy Martinez extended his season-high on-base streak to 22 games with a leadoff single before Josh Allen doubled down the left field line with one out, giving the Saints runners on second in third. Chesny Young followed Allen with an RBI single into left, tying the game at 1-1. With Allen on third and Young on first, Joey Wong placed a perfect bunt up the first base line, scoring Allen from third on the safety squeeze to put the Saints in front.
The Saints increased their lead to 4-1 with two more runs in the eighth. Back-to-back singles from Dan Motl and Blake Schmit gave St. Paul runners on first and second before Burt Reynolds advanced both baserunners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Martinez then walked to load the bases before Devon Rodriguez pulled a single through the right side of the infield, plating both Motl and Schmit.
Gary is idle on Monday before beginning their season-long 10-game road trip on Tuesday in North Dakota against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. First pitch in the series opener at Newman Outdoor Field is at 7:02 p.m. RailCats right-hander Kaleb Fontenot (0-3, 5.52) makes his third start in the first of 10 consecutive road games while the RedHawks have yet to announce their starter.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Friday, June 28th for a three-game homestand vs. the reigning American Association Champion Kansas City T-Bones. Friday’s game is AmeriCAN Beer Fest, presented by Berey Bros., Indiana 105 Country Night, and another Fifth Third Bank Fireworks Friday.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
By Jared Shlensky