GARY, IN. 9-2-2010 – The most lopsided win in Gary SouthShore RailCats history – 15-0 over the Schaumburg Flyers Thursday night at U. S. Steel Yard – capped a day that saw the ‘Cats clinch their sixth consecutive Northern League Playoff berth and take over sole possession of third place in the league.
The RailCats locked up a spot in the postseason in anticlimactic fashion when Winnipeg beat Rockford 15-2 earlier in the night to start what was scheduled to be a doubleheader, but the ‘Cats bats celebrated in record fashion by pounding out 21 hits, including nine for extra bases, in the history-making shutout. The RailCats had never won a game by more than 12 runs before Thursday – doing so four times, most recently July 30 of this season in Joliet (12-0) – and the 15 runs matched the highest output by the RailCats offense this year.
Tickets to see the RailCats in the postseason are on sale now at U. S. Steel Yard or by calling 219.882.2255. Great giveaways and discounts are included in each of the first two RailCats home playoff games, which will be either Wednesday, September 8 – Thursday, September 9 or Friday, September 10 – Sunday, September 12 (Saturday and Sunday games if necessary). For more information on playoff tickets, visit www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Thursday night, the RailCats took a 2-0 lead in the first and would need nothing more behind a second straight strong starting pitching performance, this time from Brad Halsey (7-7). Mike Massaro started a four-hit game with a double in the RailCats first and he scored on a Tanner Townsend triple down the right field line. Jeff Beachum would drive Townsend in with a base hit and the high-flying RailCats were off and running.
An error allowed two more RailCats runs to score in the second and Cristian Guerrero drove in the sixth RailCats run in the fourth, closing the book on Schaumburg starter Ryan Gehring (3-11) who allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks in 3.2 innings.
Already ahead 6-0, the RailCats tacked on a run in the fifth when Adam Klein singled home Mike Reese, who had doubled, and Guerrero started a wooly sixth inning with a mammoth home run to center. The blast was Guerrero’s third in as many games and extended his single-season team record to 19, and the homer also moved Guerrero past Townsend and into first place on the RailCats all-time career home run list with 46.
Later in the sixth inning, Schaumburg’s Aaron Guinn hit John Parham and Klein with back-to-back pitches, prompting RailCats Manager Greg Tagert and Schaumburg Manager Mike Busch to have a heated argument behind home plate while both benches emptied. No one was ejected following the skirmish in the sixth, but Busch and pitcher Cody Evans were ejected in the eighth when Parham was again hit by a pitch after warnings were given to both dugouts.
The RailCats capped their huge offensive night with a seven-run eighth inning, getting four doubles in the frame and putting the first six runners on base. Most of the damage was done against Flyers closer Brian McCullough, who was forced into the game after Evans’ ejection.
While the offense was roaring, Halsey was rolling and earned his seventh win of the year. The former Major Leaguer went 6.0 innings and allowed just five hits, walking two and striking out four. The performance lowered Halsey’s ERA to 3.82 – eighth best in the league – and pushed his ERA since August 1 to a sparkling 3.18 over seven starts.
Reese and Massaro each had four hit games, with Massaro going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored. Massaro’s four hits give him 115 on the year, matching Jay Pecci’s single-season RailCats record. Reese had two doubles during his four-hit day, and Guerrero and Beachum each had three hits. All nine RailCats starters had at least one hit and seven different ‘Cats drove in runs.
The RailCats (51-45) close out the regular season on the road, starting a four-game series with the playoff-bound Joliet JackHammers (50-46) Friday night at 7:10 p.m. at Silver Cross Field. The game will be broadcast as a web only stream Friday night at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: The 2010 season will be the sixth straight for the RailCats with an over-.500 season under Manager Greg Tagert … the two four-hit games Thursday mark the 15th and 16th four-hit games by a RailCat this year. There has not been a five-hit game … RailCats starters have tossed 16.1 straight scoreless innings over the last three games.