SCHAUMBURG, IL. 7-17-2010 – Adam Klein tripled to lead off the game and scored one batter later, and that would be all the Gary SouthShore RailCats would need to snap their season-worst eight-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over the Schaumburg Flyers Saturday night at Alexian Field.
Four RailCats pitchers combined on the shutout, which was started by rookie right-hander Nolan Nicholson (2-2), who delivered the best performance of his career over five innings. Zeb Engle followed with a pair of scoreless frames, Aaron Cook worked the eighth and Andy Shipman locked down the win with a perfect ninth. The shutout is the RailCats fifth this season, and the win is the RailCats first since July 3.
Schaumburg starter Ryan Gehring (3-4) suffered the toughest of tough-luck losses, pitching into the ninth before being pulled. The first batter of the game, Klein, roped a 2-2 pitch into the corner in right and whizzed around the bases for his second triple. Chris Carrara followed and beat out an infield hit as Klein scored the game’s only run, mere minutes into the contest. Gehring would allow precious little else in the game, retiring 10 men in a row after the Carrara hit and recording eight strikeouts without issuing a single walk.
Nicholson went the first five and gave up just four hits and one walk, working a pair of perfect innings. The 23-year-old right-hander only twice allowed runners to get to scoring position, and both times got the big out he needed in earning his second professional win. In the first, Nicholson struck out Joe Nowicki with two on, and he coerced a fly ball out of Tom Fitzgerald to end the fourth with runners on the corners.
Engle allowed the leadoff man to reach in both the sixth and seventh innings, but that was all. The rookie left-hander struck out the side after Ron Bourquin’s hit in the sixth and calmly retired Ruddy Yan and Brandon Newton with the tying run in scoring position in the seventh. Cook got Joey Gomes to hit into a double play to end the eighth, setting the stage for Shipman, who matched Tony Cogan’s RailCats career saves record with his 25th – and 12th of this season – with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Mike Massaro went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to eight games and Cristian Guerrero was also 2-for-4, but the RailCats had only three other hits. Bourquin and Josh Burrus each had a pair of hits to pace the Flyers.
Saturday’s win not only snapped the longest RailCats losing streak since 2004, it also finally gave sixth-year Manager Greg Tagert his 300th win as ‘Cats skipper. One of only seven managers ever to win 300 games in the Northern League, Tagert has won 712 times in a decorated 15-year managerial career.
The RailCats (24-27) and Flyers (20-32) will meet again Sunday in the rubber match at 1:20 p.m. Left-hander Brad Halsey (2-4, 4.06 ERA) will start for the ‘Cats against Schaumburg right-hander Dustin Glant (4-2, 3.22 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.‘
Notes: During the now-completed eight-game losing streak, the RailCats were shutout twice, including a 1-0 loss July 7 vs. Fargo-Moorhead … the RailCats last win before tonight was also against the Flyers in Schaumburg, a 15-7 victory July 3 … before the game, the RailCats placed right-handed pitcher Will Morgan on irrevocable waivers, granting his unconditional release. Morgan pitched in five games for the ‘Cats with a 14.89 ERA since being acquired June 25.