Abbott Homers Twice in RailCats Victory
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Rosemont, IL – The Gary SouthShore RailCats took their power swings with them to Impact Field as they slugged four home runs to take down the Chicago Dogs 5-2.
Though the Dogs outhit the RailCats 10-7, five Gary SouthShore arms combined to strand 10 runners on base to keep Chicago from doing any significant damage.
In their first turn at bat, the Dogs took advantage of timely hitting to take an early lead. A pair of singles placed runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly allowed Chicago to draw first blood.
However, their lead did not last long. Sam Abbott proceeded to blast a two-out, two-run home run to pull the ‘Cats ahead 2-1.
Down by a run, the Dogs did not waste any time getting back into the ballgame, and they tied up the score in the bottom of the third. A two-out single tied the score, but with two runners in scoring position, RailCats starter Adam Heidenfelder refused to back down. He induced a groundout to keep Gary SouthShore on equal footing.
Just a few moments later, Abbott struck again. A two-out solo home run in the top of the fourth gave the RailCats their advantage back as they went up 3-2.
The long ball, Abbott’s 18th of the season, moves him within one of tying Cristian Guerrero‘s single-season franchise record which has stood since 2010, Gary SouthShore’s Northern League campaign.
Chicago immediately threatened in the bottom half of the frame as each of their first three batters worked their way aboard. But, Jackson Smith caught a runner stealing second base, and Heidenfelder coaxed a flyout and a strikeout from the top two hitters in the Dogs order to keep the ‘Cats in front by one.
The Dogs turned to their bullpen with two outs in the top of the sixth, but Victor Nova quickly made that decision look foolish. He greeted reliever Shane Barringer to the ballgame by immediately taking him deep, increasing Gary SouthShore’s edge to two.
Trailing by a pair, once again, Chicago managed a pair of base runners to move the go-ahead run into the batter’s box. This time, Joel Huertas emerged from the bullpen to quench any momentum, and he retired the next two batters to hold the lead at two.
Aaron Phillips proceeded to navigate around a one-out single to pitch a scoreless single, and Reyson Santos prevented a leadoff double to score to take the RailCats into the ninth on top by two. As Chicago made another pitching change to begin the frame, Jesus Marriaga supplied the Dogs with a dose of instant regret. A leadoff home run off All-Star reliever James Reeves added another tally to Gary SouthShore’s total, and they held a three-run cushion just three outs away from a victory.
Manager Lamarr Rogers turned to Jack Eisenbarger to slam the door, and he pitched a perfect inning thanks to a pair of clutch defensive plays. Abbott pounced on a drag bunt attempt to keep the leadoff man off base, and Lester Madden ended the contest with a beautiful leaping catch in left field, securing Gary SouthShore’s win.
The RailCats return to Impact Field tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. as they pursue their second consecutive series win against their fellow East Division foe. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.