GARY, IN. 8-31-2010 – The Gary SouthShore RailCats struck for eight straight runs with two outs over four straight innings to come from behind and beat the Schaumburg Flyers 8-2 Tuesday night at U. S. Steel Yard, shrinking the RailCats magic number to clinch a sixth straight playoff berth to two.
After the Flyers scored runs in the first and third innings, the RailCats rallied for one in the fifth, two in the sixth, four in the seventh and one in the eighth to win for just the third time in their last 10 games. The win, coupled with a Rockford win over Winnipeg, only shrunk the RailCats magic number by one but did officially eliminate the Goldeyes from playoff contention. The ‘Cats will clinch a postseason berth with a win Wednesday and a Rockford loss.
With Schaumburg leading 2-0 the game reached its first major turning point in the fourth when the Flyers loaded the bases with no one out against RailCats starter Nolan Nicholson. Monday night’s 12th inning hero Chris Schultz popped out to second for the first out of the inning before the RailCats forced a run at the plate on a Ruddy Yan grounder and Travis Brown grounded out sharply to third to end the inning.
From there, the game was all RailCats starting with two outs in the fifth when Mike Reese and Tanner Townsend drew back-to-back walks before Randall Simon singled to center to score a run, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. The ‘Cats would take the lead for the first time with two outs in the sixth when Reese reached on a ground ball single to shortstop to push in the tying run and Adam Klein scored moments later on a wild pitch.
The game broke open in a wild seventh that saw the ‘Cats score four times on just one hit thanks to four Flyers errors. Simon reached on a fielding error to start the inning and went to second on a one-out Jay Pecci base hit. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch from Tom Lyons before John Parham hit a ground ball that went by Ron Bourquin into left for a two-run error. Klein followed Parham with a check swing roller in front of the plate that pitcher Tom Thornton threw into right to score two more runs and build the lead to 7-2.
The ‘Cats added icing in the eighth as Cristian Guerrero made RailCats history when he drilled an Aaron Guinn offering over the left field wall for his 17th home run of the year, breaking his own franchise record, set in 2008. Guerrero’s solo homer was his first since August 16 and the 44th of his three-year RailCats career, one behind Townsend’s career record. In his three RailCats seasons, Guerrero occupies first (17, 2010), second (16, 2008) and sixth (11, 2009) on the RailCats single-season home run chart.
Nicholson, the RailCats starter, allowed just three hits over five innings but walked five and was charged with two runs. Jeff Williams (2-3) fired two perfect innings to earn the win and Chris Chavez worked a scoreless eighth and ninth – thanks to a pair of double plays – to close out the game. Alain Quijano (5-9) started for Schaumburg and had a night similar to Nicholson’s, allowing six hits and six walks in five innings and taking the loss by getting tagged with three of the RailCats eight runs.
The RailCats out-hit Schuamburg 9-5, with Reese and Simon each recording a pair of hits. Mario Delgado went 2-for-3 to lead the Flyers who committed five errors in total.
The RailCats (49-45) and Flyers (39-56) continue their series Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard. Willie Glen (10-2, 2.62 ERA) is scheduled to start for the ‘Cats opposite right-hander Brett Harker (8-8, 5.12 ERA) and the Flyers. The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Wednesday is Football Night at The Steel Yard, with former Chicago Bears greats Kevin Butler and Bobby Douglass slated to appear and sign autographs for fans before the game. The RailCats will also be giving away $2,000 in total cash to the first 1,000 fans on a Money Giveaway, sponsored by NIEMI Associates, and it’s the last Wet Your Whistle Wednesday of the season, with $2 MGD and Miller Lite drafts on sale for fans 21 and over. Tickets can be purchase by calling 219.882.2255 of visiting the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Notes: Guerrero’s home run was the first by a RailCat since August 25 in Kansas City … the benches emptied after Ott ran into Flyers catcher Dylan Parzyk in the sixth inning trying to jar the ball loose at home plate but the confrontation did not escalate any further … with a win Wednesday, the RailCats can clinch their sixth straight 50-win season under Manager Greg Tagert and sixth straight .500 or better campaign … the eight runs mark the RailCats highest offensive output since August 15.