RailCats Claw Out Four in the Eighth to Down Canaries, 6-5
GARY, IND. — Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the eighth, Gary had seven consecutive hitters reach base and put up four two-out runs to take down the Sioux Falls Canaries, 6-5, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at U.S. Steel Yard. The RailCats’ come-from-behind victory on Bark in the Park Day, presented by McAfee Animal Hospital, snapped the Canaries’ four-game winning streak and evened Gary’s record back to .500. Both teams also scored all their runs for the second consecutive game of the series with two outs.
Colin Willis recorded his second of two hits with a leadoff single to right to open the bottom of the eighth before scoring on an RBI double from Evan Marzilli. Marcus Mooney followed Marzilli with a sharp RBI single through the left side of the infield, plating Marzilli from second. Tom Walraven then drew a walk before Zach Welz hit a line drive off the leg of third base umpire Steve Bartelstein, loading the bases full of ‘Cats. Andy De Jesus followed Welz with a bases loaded walk, tying the game at 5-5, before Randy Santiesteban drew a four-pitch bases-loaded walk, giving Gary the lead for the good.
Sandy Lugo (1) secured win with his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) save with a perfect top of the ninth while Michigan City, Ind., native Robbie Coursel (1-0) recorded his first win as a RailCat with three innings of relief. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out three.
Sioux Falls (5-4) scored their second and third unanswered runs of the series on a two-run home run from Clint Coulter in the top of the first to take a 2-0 advantage. Former RailCat Mitch Glasser drew a one-out walk before scoring on Coulter’s second homer of the season.
Gary (4-4) got on the scoreboard with a two-out run of their own in the bottom of the first. De Jesus singled with one out for the RailCats’ first hit of the afternoon before stealing second base. Three batters later, John Price Jr. drove in his second run of the series with an RBI double into the right field corner.
The Canaries went back up by two with another run in the second. Kevin Taylor drew a leadoff walk before back-to-back singles from Jordan Ebert and Andrew Ely loaded the bases. Two batters later, Glasser drove in Taylor from third with a perfectly placed bases-loaded bunt single up the third base line.
Gary cut the Sioux Falls lead to back down to one with another run in the fourth. Willis reached base for the second time with a leadoff opposite-field single to left before Price Jr. gave the ‘Cats runners on the corners with a single to right for his second of two hits on the day. Danny De La Calle then scored Willis from third with an RBI fielder’s choice.
Sioux Falls scored their final two runs of the game in the sixth. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Coursel allowed back-to-back singles to Vertigan and Glasser, giving the Canaries runners on first and second. With the runners on the move on the full-count pitch, former Chicago White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto singled to right, bringing Vertigan around to score from second, however, Willis misplayed the ball in right field, allowing Glasser to score all the way from first on the fielding error.
Lars Liguori recorded a no-decision in his team-high third start of the year. The southpaw went five innings for the second consecutive start, yielding three runs on six hits, two walks and one hit batsman while striking out four.
Ryan Flores (0-1) was charged with the loss after failing to record an out in the bottom of the eighth. The right-handed sidewinder faced four batters, allowing a hit and three walks.
Gary concludes their six-game homestand on Sunday night and hopes to avoid being swept for the first time all season at 6:10 p.m. vs. Sioux Falls. RailCats’ right-hander Christian DeLeon (0-2, 4.32) makes his second home start against Canaries’ right-hander Alex Boshers (1-0, 4.50) in the series finale.
Sunday’s game is the first Times Family Sunday and Sunday FUNday of the season. Sunday Funday includes $5 cocktails, pre-game catch on the field, presented by Beacon Hill Dental and Kids Run the Bases while the Times Family Sunday special includes $15 tickets for two adults and up to four kids in NWI Times paper and social media outlets. Sunday’s series finale is also Military Appreciation Night, presented by the Indiana National Guard, Michigan City and LaPorte Community Night, presented by Fifth Third Bank, and features a Patriotic Fireworks Super Show.
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