'Cats win first game, avoid sweep with 7-5 victory
ROSEMONT, ILL. - Five innings of one-run ball from Trevor Lubking and a season-high 13 hits from the Gary offense led the RailCats to a 7-5 win over the Chicago Dogs on Sunday afternoon at Impact Field. The win was Gary's first of the year and featured eight different RailCat hitters reaching base safely.
Lubking (1-0) retired seven in a row at one point and yielded just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out four over 5+ innings in his Gary SouthShore RailCats debut. Gary (1-2) took the opening lead of the series with a two-out run in the fourth. Colin Willis doubled down into the right field corner to begin the inning before advancing to third on a groundout off the bat of John Price Jr. Two batters later. Evan Marzilli brought home Willis with an RBI single to left for the game's first run.
The RailCats went up 4-0 with three more runs in the fifth. Will Savage reached on a throwing error by Dogs third baseman Jordan Dean to begin the inning before stealing second. Tom Walraven, who replaced Alex Crosby in the bottom of the second as a defensive replacement, then reached on an infield single before both baserunners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Randy Santiesteban recorded his first hit of the year with an RBI single to left before Willis drew an intentional walk, loading the bases for Edgar Corcino. On a 2-2 pitch, Corcino was hit on the left hand, scoring Walraven from third for the second run of the inning and third of the game. However, Corcino would be replaced the next half inning by Zach Welz in right field after getting hit. Price Jr. delivered the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center, bringing in Santiesteban from third.
Danny De La Calle increased the Gary lead to 5-0 with a solo homer on to the left field concourse to begin the sixth. De La Calle's homer was on the first pitch of the inning and was his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) hit.
Chicago (2-1) scored their first run of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth. Edwin Arroyo and Trey Vavra drew back-to-back walks to begin the frame before both baserunners moved up 90-feet on a wild pitch. Keon Barnum then drove in his fourth of the series with an RBI groundout, cutting the Gary lead to four.
The Dogs cut the Gary lead to 5-3 with a pair of unearned runs in the seventh. With runners on first and second, De La Calle's snap throw to first skipped past Santiesteban, allowing Harrison Smith to score from second. A fielding error by Walraven then allowed David Olmedo-Barrera to score the final run of the inning.
Barnum took Kaleb Fontenot deep to left-center to open the bottom of the eighth, cutting the Gary lead to one. The homer was Barnum's first of the year and his fourth RBI of the series.
Gary jumped back in front by three on Walraven's two-out, two-run double down the left field line in the top of the ninth. Price Jr. recorded his second of two doubles to begin the inning before Marzilli drew a four-pitch walk. Three batters later, Walraven followed with his second of two hits on the day.
Chicago added the game's final run on an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth from Arroyo. With the tying run at the plate and the Dogs down to their final strike, Vavra looked to have floated a soft single to right, however, Savage made an over-the-basket catch to end the game and seal the "Cats first win of the year.
Braulio Torres-Perez yielded two unearned runs over 1.2 innings of relief in his season debut with Gary while Fontenot (1) recorded a hold in his Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) debut. The right-hander retired four of the batters he faced, two via a strikeout.
Justin Sinibaldi (1) secured the win with the save in the bottom of the ninth. The right-hander allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out one in his American Association debut.
Trevor Simms (0-1) was credited with the loss in his season debut. In 4.1 innings, the right-hander allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and a pair of walks (one intentional) while striking out three.
Gary is idle on Monday before starting a six-game homestand on Tuesday vs. the Sioux City Explorers at 7:10 p.m. Lars Liguori (0-1, 54.00) makes his home debut for the RailCats on Tuesday while the Explorers have yet to announce their starter.
Tuesday's home opener features a free magnet schedule giveaway, presented by Northwest Indiana Orthopedic and Spine Center at Methodist Hospitals, and Post-Game Fireworks. Tuesday's home opener is also Gary Community Night, presented by Fifth Third Bank, and is the first Taco Tuesday and Community HealthNet Health Centers Tuesday of the season.
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.
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