Gary (0-1) took their first lead of the season with one out in the top of the first after De Jesus belted the first pitch he saw on to the left field concourse. De Jesus’ solo shot was his sixth career home run and one of his two hits.
Chicago (1-0) countered with three runs in the first to take a 3-1 lead. David Olmedo-Barrera doubled to begin the inning before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt from Edwin Arroyo. Trey Vavra followed with a broken-bat RBI single to center. Victor Roache then singled through the left side of the infield before Keon Barnum gave the Dogs their first lead of the season with a two-run double to right-center.
The Dogs increased their lead to 9-1 with six more runs in the second. Olmedo-Barrera tripled to lead off the inning before Arroyo brought him home with an RBI double down the right field line. Four batters later, Tony Roselli cleared the bases and extended the Chicago lead to six with a triple to right-center. Roselli made it 8-1 after scoring on a fielding error by Will Savage at second before Harrison Smith tripled home Jordan Dean for the final run of the inning.
The RailCats score their second run in the top of the fifth. Evan Marzilli led off the inning with a single to right before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from John Price Jr. Savage followed Price Jr. with an opposite-field RBI double, extending his hitting streak from last season to 13 games.
Chicago tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up by nine. Arroyo drove in his second run with an RBI groundout before Vavra delivered the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Dogs tacked on their final run in the seventh after Vavra was plunked with the bases loaded in the seventh. The ‘Cats added the final runs of the evening with three in the ninth. Alex Crosby made it 12-4 with a two-run double to left-center before De Jesus brought him home with an RBI single to right.
Michael McCormick yielded two runs on a hit and three walks while striking out four over 3.2 innings of relief in his Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) debut for Gary. Michigan City, Ind., native Robbie Coursel threw three innings out of the bullpen, allowing one run on three hits, three walks, one hit batsman and three strikeouts.
Lars Liguori (0-1) was charged with the loss in his first career opening-day start. The southpaw allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits over 1.1 innings. Former MLB pitcher D.J. Snelten (1-0) recorded the win in his (IPBF) debut. The southpaw yielded two runs on three hits, walked two and fanned seven over five innings.
Gary and Chicago continue their three-game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. RailCats right-hander Christian DeLeon (0-0, 0.00) makes his American Association debut against Dogs’ left-hander Luke Westphal (0-0, 0.00) in the middle game of the series at Impact Field.
The RailCats home opener at U.S. Steel Yard is on Tuesday, May 21 vs. the Sioux City Explorers at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday’s home opener features a free magnet schedule giveaway, presented by Northwest Indiana Orthopedic and Spine Center at Methodist Hospitals, and Post-Game Fireworks. Tuesday’s home opener is also Gary Community Night, presented by Fifth Third Bank, and is the first Taco Tuesday and Community HealthNet Health Centers Tuesday of the season.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at www.railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.