RailCats Roll Past Goldeyes to Take Series
By Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gary, IN – It took some time for the Gary SouthShore RailCats to put away a pesky Winnipeg Goldeyes squad, but they registered runs in each of their final four times at-bat to grab an 8-2 victory to close out their first series of the season.
The RailCats offense jumped on Goldeyes starting pitcher Landen Bourassa right away, tagging him for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Michael Woodworth ripped a leadoff triple to right field and Daniel Lingua got hit by a pitch to immediately place runners on the corners. A Jesus Marriaga groundout plated Woodworth before a balk two batters later scored Lingua, giving Gary SouthShore an early 2-0 edge.
Given a two-run cushion, Chris Erwin dazzled on the mound. Following a leadoff single to start the game, he set down 12 consecutive Goldeyes batters, seven of which via strikeout, to maintain the RailCats lead. He ended up throwing 5.1 innings of two-run ball, permitting just four hits and striking out eight without a walk, earning his first win in 2023.
Gary SouthShore’s lineup found their way back into the run column in the fifth inning thanks to a combination of heads-up baserunning and good fortune. Upon entering the contest as a pinch runner, Gio Díaz stole second base, and on an errant back pick that resulted in two errors on the play, he scampered home to move the RailCats ahead 3-0.
Winnipeg jumpstarted their offense in the sixth inning, striking for a pair on a Keith Torres double and Max Murphy groundout to pull within one run. However, with both the tying and go-ahead runs standing in scoring position, reliever Joan Valdez struck out Hidekel Gonzalez to close out the frame and alleviate the threat.
The RailCats responded in kind by producing two runs during their next trip to the dish. Francisco Del Valle walked and immediately advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Sam Abbott reached on an error, and just three pitches later, another wild pitch allowed Del Valle to score. Marco Hernandez worked a walk to set up runners on the corners for Woodworth to drive Abbott in via a sacrifice fly, replenishing the Gary SouthShore advantage to three.
One frame later, Gary SouthShore tacked on another insurance tally. Jesus Marriaga doubled, Emmanuel Tapia got hit by a pitch, and LG Castillo walked to load the bases, but consecutive outs had the RailCats in jeopardy of letting the scoring opportunity go by the wayside. However, Abbott drew a walk to bring Marriaga in and push the lead to four
The eighth inning saw the RailCats add another two runs as the heart of the order came through once again. Díaz was hit by a pitch and swiped second base, his second steal of the game, setting up Marriaga to chase Díaz in on his second double of the day. Castillo drove a single to right field to get Marriaga home two batters later, providing six runs in support needing just three to secure a win.
Matt Leon came in from the bullpen to close the Goldeyes out in the ninth, and he navigated around two base runners for a shutout inning that sealed the result.
After suffering an Opening Day loss, the RailCats bounced back and won the final two games against the Goldeyes to secure the series win.
The RailCats have a day off tomorrow before returning to The Steel Yard on Tuesday for an 11:00 a.m. tilt versus the Kansas City Monarchs. All the action can be found via stream on aabaseball.tv or on the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.