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Johnson Stellar in Front of Hometown Crowd, Wins Pro Debut

May 29, 2019 - American Association (AA) - Winnipeg Goldeyes News Release

WINNIPEG, MB - The Winnipeg Goldeyes (9-3) beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 3-1 at Shaw Park on Wednesday night.

Rookie left-hander Ryan Johnson, the first Winnipeg-born Goldeyes' player in 13 years, pitched six and two-thirds shutout innings and earned the win in his professional debut. Johnson allowed two hits, walked three, struck out three, and recorded 15 of his 20 outs on groundballs.

"Really good," said Goldeyes' manager Rick Forney. "Pitching and defence is where it's at. We got a great start from the kid in his debut. Defence was phenomenal. For Ryan to do what he did today in his pro debut in the American Association is pretty darn impressive. He has a lot of poise, pitchability, and did a great job managing the running game."

The Goldeyes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Reggie Abercrombie slugged a two-out, solo home run to left. Abercrombie played in his 694th American Association game on Wednesday, setting a new league record. Former Goldeye Josh Mazzola held the previous record at 693 games.

In the bottom of the sixth Josh Romanski singled to centre with one out. Two batters later, Willy Garcia hit a two-out, opposite-field home run to right-centre on an 0-2 count that extended the Goldeyes' lead to 3-0.

Mitchell Aker pitched one and one-third scoreless innings in relief of Johnson, and stranded a pair of inherited runners in scoring position to end the top of the seventh.

The RailCats scored one run in the ninth on a Colin Willis RBI double before Victor Capellan recorded the final two outs to earn his fifth save of the year.

Eric Morell (0-1) started for the RailCats (5-6) and took the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits in six innings. Morell walked one and struck out two.

Right-handed reliever David Griffin also made his professional debut on Wednesday, and pitched two scoreless relief innings for the RailCats.

The series concludes Thursday morning at 11:05 a.m. Harrison Cooney (1-0, 2.79) faces left-hander Lars Liguori (1-1, 8.74).

For information on 2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets, call the Goldeyes' office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes' official website at

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