The Gary SouthShore RailCats scored 13 times in the first four innings and cruised to a 13-6 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Wednesday night at U. S. Steel Yard, snapping a seven-game losing skid against the ‘Hawks.
After giving up two first inning runs to Fargo for the second game in a row, the RailCats manufactured an important run in the bottom of the first to cut the RedHawks lead in half. In the second inning, the ‘Cats got busy against starter Garry Bakker (3-3) and erupted for their biggest inning of the season, scoring six times and sending 12 men to the plate. The first five RailCats all reached in the inning, including doubles from Jordan Czarniecki and Rob Marconi, and an RBI triple from Mike Rohde.
Bakker left after walking Eric McNamee and Jay Pecci back-to-back, recording only four outs and allowing seven runs (five earned) on four hits, a walk and two wild pitches. The RailCats added another run off Billy Weitzman in the second inning when Cristian Guerrero drew a bases loaded walk.
The RailCats were not done scoring off Weitzman either, tagging the former starter with three more runs in the third and fourth innings. All three third inning runs were unearned on the heels of the first of three RedHawks errors, but the RailCats scored three times the old fashioned way in the fourth. Rohde, Anthony Esquer, Marconi and Mike Massaro reeled off four consecutive hits – Marconi’s and Massaro’s were doubles – to give the ‘Cats a 13-4 lead that essentially wrapped up the game.
The RailCats collected only 12 hits, taking advantage of Fargo’s defensive miscues and seven walks from RedHawks pitchers. Rohde had four of the RailCats 12 hits, scoring two runs, and Massaro and Pecci each finished with three RBI. Eight of the nine RailCats hitters scored runs and eight had at least one hit. The 13 runs marked the first time this season the ‘Cats had reached double-figures offensively.
Tom Thornton (6-3) pitched well enough to earn his Northern League leading sixth win of the season, allowing six runs (five earned) in 6.0 innings of work. The RailCats used two of the three new pitchers they added earlier Wednesday to close the game, with Garret Holleran tossing two scoreless innings and Clint Goocher pitching a scoreless ninth.
Badly hampered by a litany of injuries, the RedHawks were forced to start reliever Matt Mossey at third base and eventually used fellow reliever Scott Koerber on the infield and bullpen coach Robbie Lopez behind the plate. The RedHawks still managed to hit, however, getting a single, double and triple from Jeremiah Piepkorn and two hits each from Zach Penprase and Nic Jackson.
The RailCats (21-22) and RedHawks (20-19) wrap up their three-game series Thursday at 2 p.m. when the Steel Yard will host a Businessperson’s Special. The ‘Cats will be giving away cash to the first 1,000 fans – up to $100 – and any fans who bring a note from their bosses will get buy one get one free tickets. Plus, the fan with the most creative note will win a RailCats jersey!
Tony Cogan (3-5, 5.04 ERA) will get the start for the RailCats Thursday opposite left-hander Scott Fogelson (2-2, 3.95 ERA).