June 25, 2017 - Frontier League (FL) - River City Rascals
River City (18-18) dropped a 12 inning extra-inning thriller, 7-5, in the series finale against the Southern Illinois Miners Thursday night to fall back to .500 on the year and drop the first series of the seven game homestand.
In the longest affair up to this point in the season, the Rascals had runners in scoring position and the chance to win the game in two separate occasions but failed to get the job done and it was a three-run home run by third baseman Ryan Lashley in the top of the 12th to shift the outcome of the game.
The Rascals first chance to record their second walk-off win of the year came in the ninth inning against right-hander Nick Palacios.
After a leadoff single from Josh Silver in a 4-4 tie, the Rascals failed to execute a sacrifice bunt but Silver was able to swipe second during the next at-bat to put himself in scoring position.
The stolen base though was on the same pitch as a strikeout and the Rascals would go on to extend the inning via a walk and an error to put the winning run 90 feet away for Clint Freeman.
A pop-out in foul territory ended the frame and sent the game into extras. On the mound in free baseball was Cody Mincey and he kept the opponent off the scoreboard in the tenth as did the Miners extra-inning reliever John Werner in the bottom half.
In the Frontier League, the International Tie-Breaker rule comes into effect starting in the eleventh inning which means that the final out of the previous frame is begins on second base.
In this case, it was Kurt Wertz Jr. and Lucas Laster took the mound to face the lefty bat Nolan Early. Laster got his job done with a groundout to Jason Merjano that held the runner at second and then manager Steve Brook went to veteran Nick Kennedy to keep the opponent off the board. He answered Brook's call with a pair of groundouts to get the Rascals their next opportunity for a walk-off.
Jimmy Kerrigan was the runner to start on second and after a strikeout, a long fly ball to centerfield was tracked down off the bat of Taylor Love in what could have scored Kerrigan. Werner ended the threat with a strikeout to Mike Jurgella and the Rascals opportunity came to an end.
After Lashley's eventual game winning three-run home run in the top of the 12th against Matt Chavarria, who took his second loss of the year, the Rascals drove in Jurgella on a sacrifice fly but that fifth run was their final of the night and they fell back to .500 on the year.
Prior to extra-innings, the Rascals got their four runs via four RBI singles and the first one was from Josh Silver in the third to take a 1-0 lead.
The same outcome of an at-bat from Braxton Martinez tied the game at two in the fifth against Miners starter Chris Washington, and then after falling behind again, the Rascals would tie it up in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Kyle Tinius courtesy of Jason Merjano and Jimmy Kerrigan.
The Rascals starter was Ryan Smith and in his professional debut, Smith lasted 4.2 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits taking a no-decision.
Anthony Paesano followed him and also allowed two earned runs in his professional debut in 0.2 innings.
Four other relievers combined to hold the opponent scoreless the rest of the night before the Lashley round tripper.
Offensively, the Rascals tallied 12 hits and Josh Silver led the way with four to extend his hitting streak to 22 games and become the third different Rascal in 2017 to accomplish that feat.
The Rascals series loss is just their second this year at CarShield Field and will look to get back on the right track Friday night as they welcome the Normal CornBelters.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with southpaw Hector Hernandez on the mound.