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September 7, 2019 - International League (IL) - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders News Release


LHP Blake Snell (MLB Rehab) vs. RHP Nick Nelson (1-1, 4.71)

| Game 3 I.L. Semifinals | Durham Bulls Athletic Park | Durham, NC | September 7, 2019 | First Pitch 6:35 p.m. |

DURHAM, NC (September 6, 2019) -- One decisive inning was all it took for the Durham Bulls, as a pair of two-out, two-run homers in the bottom of the second inning gave the Bulls a 4-0 lead en route to a 4-2 victory and a 2-0 series lead as the I.L. Semifinals flips to PNC Field beginning Saturday night.

Michael King got the start for the RailRiders and posted a scoreless first inning before baserunners piled up in the second inning. Then with a runner aboard, Nathan Lukes clobbered a two-run homer to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, I.L. Postseason All-Star Jake Cronenworth smacked a two-run homer of his own and the Bulls led 4-0.

Josh Fleming was dominant in his start for Durham. He allowed just two hits over the first seven frames before hitting a speed bump in the eighth. The RailRiders collected three hits in the inning, but missed out on an opportunity to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning with a pair of runners caught between bases to end the frame instead of having the bases loaded.

Trailing 4-0 entering the top of the ninth inning, Kyle Higashioka smashed a solo home run to centerfield on the newly-inserted Sam McWilliams to breathe some life into the RailRiders offense. Following that, Erik Kratz walked and then there was a groundout at which point McWilliams was lifted from the game. Zack Zehner drilled a line-drive single to centerfield to plate Kratz and make it 4-2. Francisco Arcia pinch-hit and slapped a single through the left side of the infield brigning the go-ahead run to the plate, but a groundout ended the game and the RailRiders trail 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

THEY DID WHAT?: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre completed the Mircale on Montage Mountain Tuesday afternoon in a one-game playoff against the Syracuse Mets to determine the International League North Division title. Trailing 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning and having just one hit to that point of starting pitcher Ervin Santana, the RailRiders scored five times to make it a 7-6 defict. When Syracuse responded with six runs in the top of the eighth inning it seemed as if the RailRiders' fate was sealed, but instead they plated a season-best eight runs in an inning and grabbed a 14-13 lead en route to a win as Ben Heller slammed the door on the victory in the ninth with a 1-2-3 frame.

HELLO, MY NAME IS: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders franchise record for players used in games over the course of a regular season entering 2019 was 75 by the 2015 SWB RailRiders. During the regular season, SWB used 46 pitchers and 36 position players, totaling 82 players in 2019. The initial postseason roster released Wednesday afternoon by the RailRiders included two players in INF Angel Aguilar and RHP Greg Weissert who had not yet appeared in a game for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, and both now have which brings the RailRiders total to 84 players to appear in a game for them in 2019.

STORMING TO THE FINISH: INF Gosuke Katoh finished the season on an incredibly hot stretch for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In the final 27G of the regular season once returning from the Double-A Trenton Thunder, the infielder batted 27-for-88 (.307 AVG), 3 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 25 BB (.460 OBP) and 3-for-4 SB. Hotter still was the final two weeks in which Katoh reached safely in 37-of-his-last-71 plate appearances (.521 OBP), going 17-for-51 (.333 AVG) with 20 BB. His 25-game on-base streak to end the season tied Mike Ford for the second longest on-base streak by a RailRiders batter this season, and winds up as T-2nd for the longest streak among active players in the I.L. (Ryan LaMarre, GWN -- 35 games).

MAKING MOVES: Following a year in which they made 275 roster moves total (1.99 moves/game) during the regular season, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders finished the regular season by making 336 roster moves -- surpassing the 2015 season record of 305 moves in a year. The team is averaged 2.38 moves/game this season.

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