RailCats Hold Off Cougars to Win Finale
By Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
It did not come without tension, but in their first one-run game this season, the Gary SouthShore RailCats (9-6) were on the right side of the score line as they edged out the Kane County Cougars (5-10) 3-2.
The ‘Cats rode a fantastic pitching performance to get the job done, beginning with starter Julio Vivas. Making his third start of the season, he threw six innings, yielding just one unearned while striking out. The NorthShore Health Centers Player of the Game has yet to allow an earned run in two starts at The Steel Yard this season in 11 innings.
The RailCat bats picked the right-hander up right away in the very first inning. LG Castillo got Gary SouthShore on the board through a run-scoring groundout, and two batters later, Victor Nova and Gio Díaz combined on a delayed steal that saw the latter score from third base. The steal moves Díaz into a tie for first place in the American Association with 10.
Last season’s RBI leader, Jesus Marriaga, brought home another run on a single in the third inning, plating Nova and polishing off a rally that entirely began with two outs. Gary SouthShore snagged a 3-0 advantage.
The score remained unchanged for the next two full frames, but Kane County clawed back and added a run in both the sixth and seventh to narrow the margin to one.
At that point, the RailCats bullpen took over and slammed the door shut. DJ Wilkinson tossed a perfect eighth inning which concluded with back-to-back strikeouts, lowering his earned run average to 1.28 and draining the Cougars to their final three outs.
Kane County mounted a rally to put the pressure on the RailCats in the top of the ninth, but the Gary SouthShore backstop stepped up to finish Kane County off. As the tying and go-ahead runners stood on first and second base respectively with two outs, Thomas Greely nabbed pinch runner Jordan Howard as he attempted to advance to third on a pitch in the dirt to secure the win.
The RailCats are back in action Monday for their annual Memorial Day doubleheader as they host the Milwaukee Milkmen (6-8) starting at 4:00 p.m. All the action can be found on aabaseball.tv or over the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.