Willis, RailCats Double Up Airhogs, 10-5
GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS — Gary won their season-best third straight series with a 10-5 win over the Texas AirHogs on Independence Day at AirHogs Stadium on Thursday evening. The RailCats drew a season-high 14 walks and recorded at least 10 hits in a game for the third straight contest.
Gary (20-23) took a 2-0 lead with a pair of two-out runs in the first. Will Savage was hit in the left shoulder before Colin Willis and Tom Walraven drew back-to-back walks. Danny De La Calle followed Walraven with a two-run single to left, plating both Savage and Willis.
Texas (9-34) cut the Gary lead to 2-1 on a two-out solo homer from Jonathan Moroney. Moroney’s home run was the first from either team in the series and one of his eight hits in the series.
The RailCats regained their two-run lead with another run in the third. Marcus Mooney reached base on a five-pitch walk before Alex Crosby brought him around to score with an RBI double to right-center.
Gary increased their lead to 6-1 with three more runs in the fifth. Willis singled to begin the inning before Walraven walked. De La Calle then grounded into a double play before Sean Guida scored Walraven from second with at two-out RBI single to left. Zach Welz then walked before Mooney drove in both Guida and Welz with a two-run single to center.
Gary took their biggest lead of the series at 8-1 with two more runs in top of the sixth. Savage singled to begin the inning before Willis brought Savage around to score with an RBI triple to right-center. Two batters later, De La Calle grounded into his second double play of the night, scoring Willis from third.
The AirHogs cut the RailCats lead to 8-5 with four two-out runs in bottom of the sixth. Stewart Ijames doubled to left before Javion Randle brought him home with an RBI single to center. Brett Eibner and Yang Jin then drew back-to-back walks before Chen Junpeng cleared the bases with a three-run double down the left field line.
The ‘Cats added the game’s final two runs in the top of the ninth. Welz walked to begin the inning before stealing second. Mooney then reached base for the fifth and final time on the night with an RBI single to center. Mooney then stole second before Crosby and Savage walked. Willis followed Savage with a bases-loaded walk, bringing home Mooney from the third for the final run.
Lars Liguori (4-4) recorded the win after getting activated from the 7-Day Disabled List before the game. The southpaw went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out a pair.
Ryan Thurston (4) retired all five batters he faced, three via strikeouts, in his fourth hold of the year. Gan Quan (0-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits and five walks over 3.2 innings.
Gary continues their season-high-tying 10-game road trip on Friday night in the first game of the year against the Cleburne Railroaders at 7:06 p.m. RailCats right-hander Jumpei Akanuma (2-0, 2.05) opposes Railroaders right-hander Stephen Johnson (2-0, 3.38) in the opening game of the series.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard for the start of their season-long 10-game homestand on Friday, July 12th at 7:10 p.m. vs. the Cleburne Railroaders. Friday’s game is Kevin “Bacon” Night, and includes bacon themed concession specials throughout the stadium. Friday’s game is also Nurses Appreciation Night and another Fifth Third Bank Postgame Fireworks Friday.
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