GARY, IN. 7-23-2010 – Willie Glen worked six more scoreless innings and the Gary SouthShore RailCats scored a pair of early two-out runs to shutout the Lake County Fielders, 3-0 Friday night in the first game of a six-game homestand, ending the ‘Cats losing streak at three.
Glen (6-2) surrendered just four hits in his six inning start, winning for the fifth time in as many decisions and marking the fifth time in his last six starts that the right-hander did not allow an earned run. Glen struck out eight despite issuing a season-high five walks and pitched all night with men on base, failing to work a single 1-2-3 inning. Glen consistently made the big pitches when he needed to and stranded seven Fielders in a game in which Lake County left 13 runners on base.
The RailCats and Fielders each had only six hits in the game, but the ‘Cats dented the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third inning. Mike Valadez walked with one out and made an expert baserunning play to take second on a wild pitch that did not bounce far from Fielders catcher Anthony Esquer. With Valadez still on second and two outs, Adam Klein came up with the clutch RBI single to make it 1-0.
The story was much the same in the fourth when Cristian Guerrero reached on an error with one out and stole second with Louis Ott at the plate and two down. Ott cashed in the run with his team-leading 15th double to build the RailCats lead to 2-0. In the fifth, Zach Rodeghero doubled with one out, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored when Chris Carrara put down a perfect squeeze bunt to the right side.
That would be all the RailCats offense against Garry Bakker (3-6) who was beaten by the ‘Cats for the third time in as many starts this year. Bakker allowed only five hits and three walks in 5.2 innings and was charged with three runs (two earned) in his outing.
The Fielders had their best scoring chance off Glen in the first, getting the first two runners on before the veteran RailCat struck out Joshua Short, got Brian McFall to pop out and whiffed Jeff Dunbar to end the inning. Glen’s eight strikeouts Friday give him 66 on the season, tops among all Northern League pitchers. In his last six starts, Glen is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA, allowing only 32 hits and piling up 41 strikeouts in 43.2 innings.
Lake County mounted another rally in the seventh, loading the bases off Jeff Williams thanks to two walks and a hit batsman. Aaron Cook came into the two-out, bases loaded jam and got McFall, Lake County’s cleanup hitter, to pop out and end the threat. Cook would pitch a scoreless eighth before Andy Shipman worked around a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth to earn his league-leading 14th save.
Ott went 2-for-4 and Juan Valdes went 2-for-5 for the Fielders to account for the game’s only multi-hit efforts.
The RailCats (27-30) and Fielders (22-32) continue their weekend series Saturday night at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard. The RailCats will send left-hander Tom Thornton (1-6, 4.47 ERA) opposite Lake County lefty Matt Schweitzer (1-2, 7.92 ERA). The contest will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
It’s also a Kids Bat Giveaway Saturday night, with the first 1,000 kids (age 12 and under) through the gates getting a hand-crafted wood Hoosier Bat courtesy U. S. Steel Gary Works and the Post-Tribune. Gates open at 5 p.m. and tickets are still available by calling 219.882.2255, visiting www.railcatsbaseball.com or stopping by the Box Office at U. S. Steel Yard.
Notes: The win was the RailCats sixth shutout of the year … the win also snapped a six-game home losing streak for the RailCats, who had last won a home game June 30 against Joliet … the RailCats played error-free baseball for the seventh time in eight games since the All-Star Break … the start of the game was delayed 64 minutes by rain … Friday’s crowd of 3,905 was the fifth-largest of the year at U. S. Steel Yard.