Racusin Delivers Walk-Off Hit for RailCats
by Tony Pasquesi, Gary SouthShore RailCats
GARY, IN – After a series full of fireworks ended with a game packed full of twists and turns, the Gary SouthShore RailCats made ensured a sour return to the Hawkeye State for the Sioux City Explorers as the Gary SouthShore RailCats walked off for a 7-6 win in the finale.
Chris Erwin got the start for the RailCats and worked around early trouble to hold the Explorers in check. Though the Explorers loaded the bases twice in the very first inning, the left-hander held them to two runs and shut them out in his next four. He departed following five innings, allowing just two runs on four hits, striking out five in a no-decision.
It took a bit of time, but the RailCats got their offense going in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Cruz roped a leadoff double before advancing 90 feet on a flyout one batter later. As X’s starter Zach Hedges worked a 1-2 count on Alec Olund, he uncorked a wild pitch that brought Cruz home and cut their lead to a single tally.
Unsatisfied with just a one-run advantage, the Explorers got their bats going in their next turn at the plate. Trey Martin’s two-out, two-run single provided late-inning insurance to put his team ahead 4-1.
Down to their final six outs, the RailCats dug their heels in against the Sioux City bullpen and fought back. Michael Woodworth doubled to lead off, and a Cruz hit-by-pitch and Olund walk loaded the bases. With two outs, Sam Abbott roped a single to left field to bring Woodworth in and place the go-ahead run on first.
Tom Walraven then came up and turned the game on its head on his very next swing. He crushed a grand slam, his second home run in as many days, to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth.
However, the Explorers refused to go down quietly. Back-to-back singles opened up the ninth inning, but another Javeyan Williams diving catch briefly put the RailCats at ease. Immediately succeeding the web gem, a stolen base, base hit, and sacrifice fly brought the Explorers level at six apiece.
Upon losing their lead, the RailCats took matters into their own hands. Daniel Lingua walked with two outs and immediately stole second base to set the stage for Zach Racusin. He flared a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line to chase Lingua home and cap off a walk-off victory.
The RailCats have a day off tomorrow, but they return to action on Tuesday as they head to Sioux Falls to do battle with the Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium at 7:05 p.m. All the action can be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network via the Mixlr app.