The Gary SouthShore RailCats and second baseman Brad Boyer lit up the faces of the 4,517 delighted fans at U. S. Steel Yard Friday evening on Glow in the Park Night with a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the tenth.
With one away, Adam Klein doubled to give the RailCats a runner in scoring position. After Klein was forced to hold up initially on Mike Massaro’s line drive single to right, the ball was misplayed by the right fielder and the fleet-footed outfielder was waved home only to be thrown out at the plate as Jake Krause was able to re-gather in time to make a strong throw to the plate. It looked as the RailCats may have squandered their best chance to send the home fans home happy, but Boyer belted the 2-0 pitch from Fargo’s Dan Blewitt down the third baseline to drive in Massaro and start the celebration.
The RailCats improved to 39-26 and an American Association-best 19-9 at home with the eighth walk-off win. Boyer led the charge collecting three hits and a pair of RBI, including the game winner in the tenth, but he was not alone on the attack for the RailCats. Klein picked up right where he left off a little over a week ago, returning from the disabled list to reach four times with two doubles and two walks and scored the winning run for the home team. Massaro and Kyle Haines each got on base three times on two hits and a walk apiece with Haines adding a pair of RBI to the cause.
Scott Shaw (7-3, 4.57) worked out of a jam allowing just one-run in the first, on an RBI-single by Nic Jackson, to the RedHawks, who fall to 30-35 with the loss. The University of Illinois product settled into a nice groove giving up just one hit over the next six innings and at one point retired 13 consecutive Fargo hitters. Despite another solid performance, Shaw earned the no-decision surrendering three runs on just three hits over his 7+ innings of work.
After the RedHawks single tally, the RailCats answered with three runs in the home half of the frame. Klein began the rally with a double and scored on a Boyer RBI-single after a Massaro sacrifice bunt. Unlike the visitors, the RailCats would not settle for just one run as Boyer and Cristian Guerrero crossed the plate on a Haines single.
The scoreboard stayed stuck on 3-1 as each team scratched out just one hit apiece until the RailCats put a three-spot up in the bottom of the seventh. Guerrero’s two-RBI single drove in Klein and Boyer to push the advantage to 5-1 and the RailCats extended the score to 6-1 with a Toddric Johnson sacrifice fly to knock in Guerrero.
The lengthy bottom of the seventh featured three pitching changes and the RedHawks exploded for five runs in the eighth to tie the score. Two runners came home on a single by shortstop Zach Penprase cutting the RailCats advantage to 6-3. Penprase came around to score on a rare miscue by Mike Valadez as the RailCats catcher’s throw to third ended up in left field on a steal attempt. Kyle Nichols doubled home Jay Cox and Jackson scored to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Carlo Cota.
Recently acquired righty Ryne Renoso takes the mound for his RailCats debut and will be opposed by the RedHawks RHP Josh Smith (0-0, 4.32) in his first start of 2011 Saturday Night at 6:10 p.m.