Graves First Homer Buries Saltdogs
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Lincoln, NE – Coming off their dramatic extra-inning victory yesterday, the Gary SouthShore RailCats followed up by firing on all cylinders today, taking the Lincoln Saltdogs down 8-2.
It took some time for the bats to get going, but Gary SouthShore drew first blood in the top of the fourth. Though the first two batters went down in order, an LG Castillo groundball forced an error, extending the frame for former Saltdog Sherman Graves. He proceeded to launch a baseball over the left field berm, his first home run as a RailCat, to give his new team a 2-0 lead.
The very next inning, the RailCats got on a roll and erupted for six runs. A Nate Scantlin double started it off, and Tom Walraven drew a walk to place runners on first and second. Michael Woodworth then doubled to right field and scored them both, and an error allowed him to advance to third on the play. Following a pitching change, three consecutive walks to Daniel Lingua, Jesus Marriaga, and Victor Nova resulted in another tally. Though a fielder’s choice led to a force out at home plate, Graves picked the ‘Cats back up on a two-run double of his own. Thomas Greely capped off the scoring through a sacrifice fly, propelling Gary SouthShore to an 8-0 advantage.
With a slew of runs in support, starting pitcher Adam Heidenfelder continued to dominate. He worked six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just two hits and striking out six in his first quality start of the season.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Saltdogs produced a mini rally to try and find their way back into the game. An error with runners on the corners resulted in their first run before a fielder’s choice produced a second. They moved runners to first and second with two outs, but Nick Garcia fanned fellow All-Star Josh Altmann to halt any further progress.
Garcia found himself in another jam in the bottom of the eighth, permitting runners on the corners with nobody out, but he dug deep to finish the inning unscathed. He generated a strikeout and turned a double play on back-to-back batters, shutting down the threat and keeping the ‘Cats ahead by 8-2.
Jack Eisenbarger took over on the bump in the bottom of the ninth, and he managed to retire the side on just four hitters, securing Gary SouthShore’s second win in a row and fourth in their last five contests.
The RailCats head back to Haymarket Park tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. with a chance to sweep the Saltdogs. All the action will be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.