GARY, IN. 6-10-2010 — Cristian Guerrero delivered the game-winning RBI – this time on an infield single – and the Gary SouthShore RailCats completed a three-game series sweep of the Rockford RiverHawks with a 5-4 win Thursday night at U. S. Steel Yard.
The win was the RailCats fifth in a row and gave the ‘Cats their first series sweep of the season. Despite not reaching .500 all year before Wednesday’s doubleheader, the RailCats will enter this weekend’s action in fourth place in the eight-team Northern League, just three games behind first place Fargo-Moorhead.
Thursday, Rockford scored three times in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at four, where the score remained until the bottom of the seventh. Adam Klein reached on an error with one out and went to second on a Jay Pecci walk. Klein reached third on a fielder’s choice groundout, and Guerrero came through with a sharp ground ball to third with two that he just beat out at first base.
The RailCats bullpen did the rest, firing a perfect 3.1 innings in back of starter Ryan Zink to preserve the victory. Zeb Engle (1-0) was credited with his first professional win, retiring the last batter in the sixth – Rich Austin on a strikeout with the tying run on base – and pitching a 1-2-3 seventh. Jeff Williams set down the side in order in the eighth and Andy Shipman was perfect again in the ninth, striking out the last two hitters to earn his league-leading sixth save.
Early in the game, offense was not a problem for the RailCats against Rockford starter Brett Durand (3-1). Mike Massaro drove in a run in the first on a sacrifice fly that scored Klein from third. The RailCats added two more in the second when Pecci delivered a clutch two-out base hit with the bases loaded. In the third inning, Jeff Beachum made it 4-1 RailCats with his second home run in as many games, a long fly ball that dinged the foul pole in left.
Pecci went 2-for-3 to notch his second straight two-hit game, as the ‘Cats shortstop wound up 5-for-11 in the three-game series. Six other RailCats had a hit in the game, as the ‘Cats out-hit Rockford 8-7. Elvin Millan, Jr. doubled twice for the RiverHawks – the first two extra-base hits of his career – but was the only Rockford player with multiple hits.
The RailCats (11-9) begin a seven-game road trip Friday night at 7 p.m. in Kenosha, Wis. when they’ll take on the Lake County Fielders (7-13). Right-hander Willie Glen (1-1, 3.52 ERA) will make the start Friday for the RailCats against Lake County’s John Brownell (1-2, 8.15 ERA). The game, like every RailCats game in 2010, will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: Thursday’s win was the 699th of Greg Tagert’s 15-year managerial career … Beachum’s home run was his third of the year, matching his career output entering the season … Guerrero notched nine RBI in the three-game series to increase his season total to 17. Guerrero hit five home runs – in five straight at bats – in the doubleheader sweep Wednesday in Rockford … the RailCats are 6-0 this year when out-hitting their opponent.