The Gary SouthShore RailCats (12-13) utilized a three-run fourth inning and a stellar pitching performance to top the Cleburne Railroaders (12-13) 4-2 on Wednesday night and snap a three-game losing streak.
Starter John Sheaks set the tone for Gary SouthShore’s arms, tossing a five-inning, one-run outing on the mound. He allowed just four hits while striking out three Railroaders batters to earn his second victory of the season.
However, even though Sheaks subdued the Cleburne offense, the ‘Cats still had to work from behind. The Railroaders scored the game’s first run on a Hill Alexander solo home run in the second inning.
In response, the RailCats struck back emphatically in the bottom of the fourth. Emmanuel Tapia and LG Castillo began the rally with back-to-back singles. After a Victor Nova fielder’s choice moved the tying run to third base, Francisco Del Valle knotted the score at one on a hard-hit infield single. Thomas Greely followed up and gave Gary SouthShore a lead it would not relinquish through a perfectly placed single into left-center field, chasing Castillo home. A Daniel Lingua run-scoring groundout from tallied one more, giving the ‘Cats a two-run advantage.
Gary SouthShore added an insurance run in the seventh. Gio Díaz walked and promptly advanced 90 feet on an errant pickoff attempt, setting up Jesus Marriaga to single him in one batter later. Marriaga continues his red-hot trend as he recorded his fourth multi-hit game in the team’s last six contests, maintaining a .429 batting average during that stretch.
Working with a multi-run edge, the RailCats bullpen slammed the door shut and continued its dominance in the series. Aaron Phillips fired two scoreless innings while allowing just one hit before Jack Eisenbarger took over and fired a three-up, three-down eighth. DJ Wilkinson finished the job with his second save in as many tries in a one-run ninth inning, sealing a 4-2 Gary SouthShore victory.
The RailCats continue their six-game set against the Railroaders with game three Thursday night at 6:45 p.m. from The Steel Yard. All the action will be streamed on www.aabaseball.tv and broadcast over the radio on 95.9 WEFM and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network via the Mixlr app.