SWB Game Notes
DURHAM BULLS (46-27) @ SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE RAILRIDERS (42-29)
RHP Brendan McKay (3-0, 1.35) vs. LHP Stephen Tarpley (4-0, 1.99)
| Game No. 72 | PNC Field | Moosic, PA | June 22, 2019 | First Pitch 6:35 p.m. |
MOOSIC, PA (June 21, 2019) -- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders trailed by five runs entering the ninth inning, eventually brought the tying run to the plate, but fell to the Durham Bulls 6-2 in game one of a series Friday night at PNC Field.
A solo homer by Nick Solak in the second inning put the Bulls on the board first in front of a crowd of 7,688. Durham tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth against Raynel Espinal. In the inning, Jake Smolinski collected an RBI double and later scored on a two-run home run by Jason Coats, bringing the Bulls lead to 4-0. In the bottom of the fifth, Logan Morrison drilled the RailRiders first hit of the night; a solo home run over a shifted four-man Bulls outfield, pulling the RailRiders to within three.
The Bulls started off the eighth inning against RailRiders pitcher Kaleb Ort with back-to-back singles. With runners on the corners, Dalton Kelly hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Solak to extend the lead to 5-1. The RailRiders produced two singles from Tyler Wade and Breyvic Valera in the bottom half of the eighth and eventually loaded the bases, but Clint Frazier struck out and the inning came to a close. In the decisive ninth inning, Smolinski doubled on a line drive for the Bulls, 6-1. Ort walked Solak and Rex Brothers took the mound for the RailRiders. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rallied in the bottom of the inning and Morrison lined a two-base hit to center, followed by a single from McBroom. Keeping the momentum, Gosuke Katoh reached on an infield single to plate Morrison and make it 6-2. The RailRiders had three chances with the tying run at the plate but came up short in their comeback bid.
Ricardo Pinto (4-2) entered in back of Jake Faria, who worked as the opener Friday night. Faria retired all six men he faced before turning the ball over to Pinto who worked 5.0 complete innings. Espinal (3-6) took the loss after allowing the first four runs.
MIDWAY MATH: After 70 games, the 2019 club is tied for the second-best winning percentage by the franchise since the Yankees affiliation began in 2007. The 2017 RailRiders were 43-27 after 70 games, good for a .614 winning percentage. This year matches the '08 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees mark of 42-28 (.600) for second-best over the last 13 seasons, one win ahead of the '09 team and two in front of three clubs that were 40-30 at the midway mark. In 2017, Matt Wotherspoon was the winning pitcher in the RailRiders 43rd victory. The Mountain Top native gave up a late home run Thursday night in the decisive 8th inning of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's comeback win over Norfolk; the RailRiders 42nd win of this campaign.
HIGH-WATER MARK: The RailRiders knocked off the Norfolk Tides 7-6 last Wednesday night in Norfolk to improve to 38-25 (.603) and stay percentage points ahead of the Durham Bulls (39-26, .600) for the best record in the league. The RailRiders had immediately dropped three consecutive games since getting to the season-best 13 games above .500 before winning four in a row to set the new mark at 14 games above .500 entering their series Friday night against the league-leading Durham Bulls.
PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF: SWB trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the 8th inning Wednesday, and had been 0-23 this season when trailing entering the 9th. They scored a run in the 8th inning, two runs in the 9th and then twice more in the bottom of the 10th to walk it off for the win. Trailing after 7 innings for the second straight night, the RailRiders won their second straight game after being 1-27 in their first 28 such games this year.
POWER STEERING: INF Mike Ford has shown off a number of hitting tools this season for the RailRiders, prompting his MLB debut earlier in the year. One thing that has taken a big step forward has been his power totals. With a home run in Tuesday's win over the Norfolk Tides, Ford eclipsed his season total from all of last year, but at a much higher rate -- 2019: 49G, 182 AB, 16 HR (11.4 AB/HR) // 2018: 102G, 367 AB, 15 HR (24.5 AB/HR).
MORE POWER: Logan Morrison homered in the 7th inning Thursday night and became the sixth member of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to record double-digit homers this season. He joins Mike Ford (16), Ryan McBroom (15), Kyle Higshioka (11), Trey Amburgey (10) and Brad Miller (10). Last year's team had only six players with 10+ homers. Up next for the 2019 RailRiders: Gosuke Katoh (7) and Breyvic Valera (7).
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