RailCats Comeback Thwarted in Sioux City
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore room
Sioux City, IA – The Gary SouthShore RailCats gave the Sioux City Explorers all they could handle, but the X’s came up clutch in the late innings to pull off a 5-4 walk-off victory.
The RailCats produced 11 hits in the contest, but Sioux City came through in the clutch to secure a series win.
Following a scoreless first three innings, the RailCats broke through in the top of the fourth. Consecutive singles from Michael Woodworth and Daniel Lingua placed runners on the corners before a wild pitch plated the game’s first run. Zach Racusin then slapped a base hit the other way to bring Lingua home to provide Gary SouthShore a 2-0 lead.
Playing from behind for the first time in the series, the Explorers cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back two-out walks led to a run-scoring Danny Amaral single, and an error soon afterward put X’s on second and third base. However, starting pitcher Adam Heidenfelder buckled down and got former Major League stalwart Nick Franklin to ground out to second base and relinquish the threat.
On the day, Heidenfelder pitched like his normal self. In his five innings of work, he allowed just one run on two hits, striking out five as well.
Though the two teams traded zeros in the sixth, the Explorers ignited their offense in the seventh. Another two walks had baserunners on first and second before Chase Harris snuck a double down the third baseline. A strikeout put the RailCats at ease for a moment, but Franklin blooped a broken-bat single to left field to cap off a three-run inning and give the Explorers a 4-2 advantage.
After falling behind for the first time, the RailCats went back to work and tied the score in the top of the eighth. A single and hit-by-pitch had runners on first and second, and savvy baserunning forced a wild throw on a would-be double play to pull within one run. The Explorers immediately made a pitching change, but Sam Abbott ripped a single to right field and tied the score at four.
As the RailCats and Explorers remained tied in the bottom of the ninth, the Sioux City lineup did their damage without recording hits. A walk, hit-by-pitch, and an error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases, and an error permitted the game-winning run to score.
The RailCats take the field once more at Mercy Field in the series finale against the Sioux City Explorers at 4:05 p.m. tomorrow. Nick Garcia (1-0, 4.39 ERA) opposes Zach Hedges (0-2, 8.43 ERA) in a game that can be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.