RailCats Pitchers Ground RedHawks
By Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gary, IN – After a rare off-night last night, Gary SouthShore RailCats pitchers brought their best stuff to The Steel Yard and stifled the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to pull out an impressive 2-1 victory.
Three arms combined to hold the RedHawks to six hits and stranded seven runners on base, further cementing their status as one of the top staffs in the American Association.
After Michael Cruz sealed a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play by firing a dart from behind the dish in the top of the first, the RailCats tallied a run in their very first turn at-bat. Michael Woodworth singled and Daniel Lingua walked to put runners on the corners with one out before Jesus Marriaga beat out a would-be inning-ending double play to give his team an early 1-0 lead.
For the next few innings, starter Chris Erwin made it stand up. He held five runners on base over that span, striking out four batters as well to keep the Fargo-Moorhead offense in check.
However, the RedHawks struck back with two outs to tie the game in the top of the fifth. A Manuel Boscan walk and a Drew Ward single set the stage for Leobaldo Piña to double home the equalizing run. But, as they tried to send the second runner to the plate, the combination of Zach Welz, Lingua, and Cruz teamed up to cut Ward down and kept the contest level at one.
Following a scoreless bottom of the inning, the RedHawks re-applied the pressure on the RailCat defense. Two walks opened the frame, but a pop out on a bunt attempt helped settle things down. Manager Lamarr Rogers then turned to reliever Josh Vincent out of the bullpen, and it took him just one pitch to induce an inning-ending double play that curbed Fargo-Moorhead’s momentum.
Gary SouthShore took the defensive boost and immediately got to work restoring their lead. Chris Burgess and Sam Abbott drew back-to-back walks to place runners on first and second base, and Alec Olund bunted them both up 90 feet. Welz then stepped up and flared a single to right field to position the RailCats back in front 2-1.
With the newfound lead, Vincent showed off his best stuff. He set down six consecutive RedHawks in his next two innings, only needing 20 pitches to carve through their lineup.
Rogers handed the ball off to Aaron Phillips to seal the win in the top of the ninth, and he picked right up where Vincent left off. He retired the last three batters of the game in short order to finish the RedHawks off and seal his team-leading third save.
The RailCats and RedHawks take to the field at The Steel Yard tomorrow for the final matchup of this three-game series tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. as John Sheaks (1-2, 4.01 ERA) and Ryan Flores (2-0, 4.54 ERA) do battle. All the action can be found on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.