GARY, IN. 8-16-2010 – Kit Pellow scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the ninth and Mike Massaro lined sharply into a double play to end the game as the Schaumburg Flyers beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 7-6 Monday night at U. S. Steel Yard in the opener of a three-game series.
The game went back-and-forth in the late innings, with the Flyers taking their first lead with a run in the eighth inning only to see the ‘Cats tie the score in the bottom half. In the ninth, Pellow singled off Andy Shipman (3-2) before Mario Delgado doubled – his fourth hit of the game – to left to move the runners to second and third. A Shipman offering to the next batter, Joey Gomes, was in the dirt and bounced away to allow Pellow to score the winning run.
The RailCats had a chance to come back again in the bottom of the ninth when Adam Klein hustled out an infield single with one out against Brian McCullough. Klein took off on a 2-2 pitch to the next hitter, Massaro, who smacked a line drive that Ron Bourquin grabbed with a leap at third and threw to first to end the game.
The ‘Cats jumped out early on Schaumburg starter Alain Quijano, with Cristian Guerrero cracking a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to make it 2-0. The home run was Guerrero’s 16th of the year, tying his own single-season franchise record, set during the 2008 season. Guerrero has hit the 16 home runs this year despite playing in only 62 games because of an earlier wrist injury.
Louis Ott added to the RailCats lead with a solo home run to start the second off Quijano – his career-high fifth of the year – before Schaumburg chipped away with two runs in the fourth off Andy Weeks. Guerrero would double in two more RailCats runs in the fifth to swell the lead to 5-2, part of a 3-for-4 day for Guerrero who doubled twice and drove in four runs to go with his record-tying home run.
Weeks was rolling through five innings, but the first two runners would reach against him in the sixth to end his day. James Baker came on in relief of Weeks and Richard Mercado launched his first pitch into left for a three-run home run to tie the game at five. In all, Weeks allowed seven hits and four runs in five-plus innings.
Schaumburg took their first lead in the top of the eighth when Tom Fitzgerald doubled off Chris Chavez with one out and Bourquin on first. Bourquin would come all the way in to score an unearned run when the Fitzgerald double was bobbled in left for an error. Ott tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out triple to plate Guerrero, and the ‘Cats had a shot to take the lead with runners at first and third and one out. Pinch-hitter Mike Rohde came to the dish and hit a bullet to shortstop that Travis Brown made a diving play on and flipped to second to start a spectacular game-saving double play.
The Flyers had 13 hits in the win, with their three and four hitters (Pellow and Delgado) a combined 7-for-10. Mercado and Ruddy Yan also had two hits for Schaumburg. Guerrero led the RailCats with his three-hit day, while Ott and Reese each had two hits, but there were only two singles from the other six hitters in the lineup.
The RailCats (43-38) and Flyers (32-48) continue their three-game series Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard. Right-hander Nolan Nicholson (5-3, 3.92 ERA) will start for the RailCats with Brett Harker (6-8, 5.62 ERA) answering for the Flyers. The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
The RailCats will celebrate Halfway (Almost) to St. Patrick’s Day Tuesday night, wearing special themed uniforms that will be auctioned off to fans after the game. It’s also a Tuesday Kids Day with free hot dogs for the first 1,000 kids and a picture pack of RailCats players to the first 1,000 fans of all ages. Great seats are still available by calling 219.882.2255 or stopping by the Box Office at U. S. Steel Yard anytime after 10 a.m.
Notes: The RailCats are 4-5 against Schaumburg this year … Ott had six home runs in the first five seasons of his professional career combined before blasting five so far this summer … Guerrero now has 43 home runs in his three-year RailCats career, two behind Tanner Townsend’s career record … Ott’s eighth inning triple was his league-leading sixth of the year.