July 20, 2017 - Frontier League (FL) - River City Rascals
Hector Hernandez paved the way on the mound and the Rascals (29-27) offense tallied seven runs on ten hits to earn their fourth consecutive win, 7-3, over the Lake Erie Crushers (23-31) Tuesday night at CarShield Field.
The four game winning streak is the second longest of the year and the win also puts the Rascals two games over the .500 mark for the first time since June 17th.
A crucial piece in the win Tuesday night was starting pitcher Hector Hernandez and he picked up his fourth win of the year by weaving seven innings of quality baseball.
The southpaw from Puerto Rico struck out five in the first two frames and finished allowing three runs, earned, on eight hits and struck out six. After giving up one run in the opening frame, he didn't allow any Crusher to cross the plate until a two-run home run off the bat of third baseman Josh McAdams in the seventh inning.
"I was prepared for the start tonight and I worked well with Ludy behind the plate," Hernandez said. "I kept attacking the zone and finished a lot of at-bats with the slider."
Offensively, eight separate Rascals notched a hit and the first one came in the third inning from shortstop Johnny Morales.
Trailing 1-0, Morales would get in scoring position one batter later due to Brandon Thomas drawing a walk and then on a well executed hit and run, Jimmy Kerrigan drove in Morales to tie the game up at one against the Crushers starting pitcher Juan Caballero.
"That was a huge hit, they had us down 1-0 and we didn't have a whole lot of success the first time through the order," manager Steve Brook said. "Jimmy found a hole on the left side and it then it allowed us to do some more work offensively the rest of the inning."
The work would come two batters later when Josh Silver smashed a two RBI double off the right field wall to extend the Rascals lead to 3-1.
River City held a lead for the rest of the night and built on it with another three spot in the bottom of the fourth.
With two on and two out, the top of the order came up huge once again and had a pair RBI hits from Kerrigan and Jason Merjano.
Kerrigan tallied his second of three hits on the night with a RBI double and then in his first game off the injured reserved list, Merjano ripped a ball into right field to plate Morales and Kerrigan.
"I just wanted to put the bat on the ball and help the team out in any way possible tonight," Merjano said.
The top of the order accounted for six of the seven RBI and the final run came across to score for the Rascals in the seventh via a RBI single from Clint Freeman.
After the run in the seventh, Jason Zgardowski threw a scoreless eighth and Cody Mincey secured the four run victory in the ninth.
The losing pitcher for the Crushers was their starter, Juan Caballero, his second loss of the year. He allowed six runs, earned, on six hits and struck out three in four innings.
Prior to Tuesday night, the righty had allowed just three earned runs in his previous 19 innings.
The Rascals season continues Wednesday night as they look to win their fifth straight game and climb up the standings in the Western Division.
"These next two weeks are huge and if we keep having fun and roll with what we are doing on the field then I think we will have a lot of success," Merjano said.