GARY, IN. — Joe Nowicki hit a two-run first inning home run and that would be all the Schaumburg Flyers would need as they ended the 2010 Northern League exhibition season with a 3-0 win over the Gary SouthShore RailCats Tuesday afternoon at a chilly U. S. Steel Yard.
The RailCats managed hits in each of the game’s last six innings but never could push a run across, stranding six runners in total as the Flyers turned a pair of double plays and caught two RailCats trying to steal. The ‘Cats did get several strong pitching performances, however, including four innings each from Ryan Zink and Tom Thornton. Relievers Aaron Cook and James Baker closed out the scheduled 10-inning game with a scoreless frame each.
Nowicki’s home run came just two pitches after Chris Schultz reached on a slowly-hit two-out infield single to continue the inning. The Schaumburg first baseman’s blast nearly carried to the facing of the U. S. Steel Yard Diamond Club in right and was the game’s only scoring into the eighth inning. That’s when Kelly Hunt singled into left to score Nowicki from third against Thornton.
Zink (0-1) started for the ‘Cats and allowed five hits and two walks in his four innings, although he did pitch out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by striking out Joe Pauley and retiring Antoan Richardson on a line drive to center. Thornton was nearly unblemished through his first three innings before allowing the eighth inning tally.
Jeff Beachum did not start the game for the RailCats but went 2-for-2 with a pair of late singles and was the only ‘Cats player to record multiple hits. Tanner Townsend had the ‘Cats only extra-base hit, a two-out double in the sixth that put the tying runs in scoring position before Joshua Giles struck out Cristian Guerrero.
Brett Harker (1-0) started for the Flyers and allowed only one hit in four innings. Six different Schaumburg relievers closed out the game with an inning each.
The RailCats open the 2010 regular season at U. S. Steel Yard Thursday, May 20 at 7 p.m. against the Kansas City T-Bones. Great seats are still available for every night of the RailCats opening six-game homestand by calling 219.882.2255 or logging on to www.railcatsbaseball.com.