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SWB RailRiders Game Notes - July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders News Release


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (47-24) at Syracuse Mets (24-50)

LHP Josh Maciejewski (First Start) vs. RHP Nick Tropeano (2-0, 2.18 ERA)

| Game 72 | Road Game 38 | NBT Bank Stadium | Syracuse, NY | July 30, 2021 | First Pitch 6:35 p.m. |

PITA POCKET: RailRiders infielder/outfielder Matt Pita has slotted in as one of the key members to the SWB offense during the current road trip at Syracuse. Though he has only three hits in the series, all three have been home runs. They have also been clutch home runs, with his three-run homer on Tuesday tying the game at 6-6 after the RailRiders trailed 6-0. On Wednesday, he homered in the ninth to pad the RailRiders lead to 8-2, a key run as the Mets scored six to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Thursday night saw him crush a game-tying long ball in the top of the ninth off Geoff Hartlieb. Pita has four home runs in 10 games with the RailRiders after hitting only three home runs in his first 147 career minor league games. In SWB, Pita has been reunited with his college hitting coach Casey Dykes, who helped Pita club 32 home runs at VMI from 2016-18.

ALVAREZ ON THE RISE: Before an 0-for-4 performance on Thursday, RailRiders infielder Armando Alvarez had been on a tear over his previous 10 games at the plate, batting .372/.400/.791 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Of the 16 hits he has in that span, 10 of them have gone for extra bases, with six doubles added to his home runs. He has raised his season batting average from .219 to .250, and his OPS has jumped 108 points from .648 to .756. He has seven multi-hit games in those 10 games, including five in the last six contests. In addition to his recent offensive spurt, Alvarez made a diving catch into the first base camera well last Tuesday night against Rochester which ended up as the No. 1 "Top Play" of the night on ESPN's SportsCenter.

FALLING BEHIND: The RailRiders have made a habit of notching comeback wins this season, but the flip side is that is predicated on the team falling behind in many games this season. Through 71 games this season, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has allowed the first run in 38 games, notching a 22-16 record in those contests. The RailRiders have been out-scored 79-67 (-12) in the first two innings of games this season, a shocking number considering the team is +112 in run differential this season, the second-best mark in Triple-A East (Durham, +156). Most of the damage has been done in the middle innings, with SWB sporting an impressive +95 run differential in innings four through six.

SWB DIGS THE LONG BALL: On Friday night the RailRiders set a new season high by hitting six home runs against the Rochester Red Wings in a 14-5 triumph at PNC Field. Armando Alvarez, Donny Sands, Thomas Milone, Andrew Velazquez (2x), and Frederick Cuevas all went deep for SWB on the night. It was the first career multi home run game for Velazquez, and Cuevas' dinger was his first above the High-A level in his career. The SWB franchise record for home runs in a game is seven, set on May 31, 1998 at Toledo. The RailRiders have hit 10 home runs in the first five games of the series.

TURN AROUND NOW SWITCH: As part of his two-homer performance on Friday night, Andrew Velazquez became just the second player in SWB franchise history to switch hit home runs in a game. He hit a home run right-handed against Matt Tomshaw in the fourth inning, and clubbed one left-handed against Ronald Peña in the sixth. Velazquez joined Darren Burton in the annals of franchise history with his switch-hit performance. Burton accomplished the rare feat on April 23, 1998 in a game at the Rochester Red Wings.

IT'S THE FINAL STRETCH (DA NA NA NA): In lieu of a traditional playoff in Triple-A Baseball, MLB announced last Wednesday that all Triple-A teams will compete in a 10-game postseason tournament called the Triple-A Final Stretch from Sept. 22 through Oct. 3. Each league will have a regular season champion, crowned for having the best record across 120 games, and a Final Stretch champion, crowned for having the best record in the added 10 games. Unlike any tournament you may be familiar with, the Triple-A Final Stretch has a set schedule of opponents and you continue to play even if you are eliminated from contention. MLB announced the RailRiders will play Syracuse from 9/22-26 at PNC Field and finish the Final Stretch at Rochester from 9/28-10/3. MLB also announced it will give a prize to the winners.

RECORD-SETTING CLUB: The RailRiders have already set or tied four single-game franchise records this season. Some are dubious, such as Longest 9-Inning Game (4:09, 5/6 @ SYR) and Most Walks (16, 7/28 @ SYR), while others are positive, like Most Stolen Bases (7, 6/29 @ WOR) and Fewest Hits Allowed, 9-Inning Game (0, 7/21 vs ROC). The RailRiders have also set the mark for best record after 40 and 50 games in franchise history this year.

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