ROCKFORD, Il. — The Rockford RiverHawks never surrendered an early lead and held on late to beat a game Gary SouthShore RailCats squad, 5-4 Wednesday night at Road Ranger Stadium in the ‘Cats first game away from home this season.
Mike Rohde hit his fourth RailCats home run in the fourth inning, John Parham cracked his first career double in the fifth inning and the ‘Cats loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth inning, but Rockford hung on to get their fifth win of the year. Scott Roehl shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his league-leading third save to give the RiverHawks their second win over the RailCats in the last three days.
Rockford got the scoring started with two third inning runs, getting RBI hits out of David Cooper and Rich Austin. Rohde answered in the fourth, becoming the RailCats first baserunner when he took Kyle Wright (2-0) deep to right with a no-doubt home run that cut the Rockford lead to one.
As they would all night, Rockford answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the ‘Cats came back in the fifth when Chris Carrara followed up Parham’s double with two outs to drive the RailCats catcher home and make the score 3-2.
RailCats starter Brandon Magee (0-2) started strong by retiring the first seven hitters and had only a few tough innings, but each of those frames resulted in Rockford runs. Magee gave up the two decisive runs in the seventh when Cooper walked and scored on a Kevin House triple. House was plated one batter later when Austin singled through a drawn-in infield.
Magee allowed six hits and five earned runs in seven full innings, walking two and picking up one strikeout. Wright, meanwhile, also went seven and gave up two runs on five hits.
Adam Rowe replaced Wright to start the eighth inning to disastrous results, walking Adam Klein, Mike Massaro and Rohde on just 13 pitches. Alex Thieroff replaced Rowe and gave up two runs when Cristian Guerrero hit a ground ball to third that resulted in one out, but the attempted double play relay was wild, scoring a second RailCats run. Guerrero would be stranded, however, and the RailCats would not get another baserunner.
The RailCats had only five hits in the game and stranded only four runners, while the RiverHawks were just as efficient – stranding four and scoring five runs on six hits. Austin had the only-two hit game on either team, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in.
The RailCats (2-5) and RiverHawks (5-2) conclude their series Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. right back at Road Ranger Stadium. The RailCats will send former Major League southpaw Brad Halsey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound Thursday night against Rockford’s Kyle Ruwe (0-0, 2.70 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: James Baker pitched a perfect eighth inning for the RailCats … the game was the first of a five-game road trip for the RailCats, who started the season with six straight home games … Rohde hit two home runs in 2009 and just one in 2008. He had only five career home runs before Wednesday night’s blast.