JOLIET, IL. 8-1-2010 — Tanner Townsend hit the second Gary SouthShore RailCats grand slam in the last three days and Adam Klein drove in a career-high five runs as the ‘Cats rolled the Joliet JackHammers 13-2 Sunday afternoon at Silver Cross Field, taking three of four in the series.
The RailCats enjoyed lopsided wins Thursday, Friday and Sunday, combining to out-score Joliet 31-3 and out-hit the ‘Hammers 50-17 in those three contests. Joliet did win an extra-inning game Saturday, but only after the RailCats rallied to tie the score in the ninth. With the three wins, the RailCats get back to .500 and close within 1.5 games of the third-place JackHammers.
Ross Stout (5-8) did not allow a hit in the first two innings, but that quickly turned around in the third. Zach Rodeghero started the frame with a single and went to second on a Mike Valadez base hit. After a sacrifice bunt pushed runners to second and third, Klein cracked a base hit to score both runs. Mike Massaro followed Klein with a double, moving runners to second and third, before Louis Ott was intentionally walked to load the bases. That move would come back to bite Joliet one pitch later, when Townsend unloaded over the wall in left for the grand slam, swelling the lead to 6-0.
The RailCats have hit only 16 grand slams in franchise history, with Jay Pecci hitting the 15th in club history Friday night as part of a 12-0 win. Of the 16 RailCats grand slams, Townsend has hit five of them, including a pair in his MVP season of 2008.
Stout left the game in the fourth, having allowed seven earned runs on seven hits after a Klein single scored Valadez early in the inning, and the RailCats started to work against the Joliet bullpen. Mike Rohde drove home Townsend with a single in the fifth to make it 8-0, and the ‘Cats had another huge inning in the seventh.
With one out in the RailCats seventh inning, the next eight ‘Cats hitters would all reach. Rodeghero – who notched his first career three-hit game – had and RBI single in the inning, Chris Carrara – who went 3-for-4 – doubled in another run, and Klein hit a two-run double to give him five RBI. The RailCats would score five times in the sixth, the fourth inning in the series in which the RailCats scored at least five runs.
Klein, who had never even had a four RBI game in his career, went 3-for-6 with the five runs driven in and now leads the team with 34 RBI this year. Valadez and Rohde each added two hits for the ‘Cats, who finished with 16 hits in the game, their second-lowest output of the four-game set.
LaPorte native Andy Weeks made his first professional start and was excellent in 3.2 innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while, most importantly, keeping Joliet off the scoreboard. James Baker (2-3) followed Weeks with 2.1 hitless innings to earn the win before Joliet hit a pair of solo home runs off Zeb Engle in the eighth.
The RailCats (33-33) will head back home to start a three-game series with the Winnipeg Goldeyes (34-33) at U. S. Steel Yard. Right-hander Nolan Nicholson (4-2, 4.25 ERA) will start for the ‘Cats in the opener with Chris Salamida (8-4, 5.29 ERA) answering for Winnipeg. The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
It’s also a NIEMI Associates Dollar Monday, with $1 deals throughout the ballpark, including dollar hot dogs, popcorn, pop, chips, game programs, merchandise and more all available. Plus, when you buy one ticket at full price, the second is just a buck! Great seats are still available by calling 219.882.2255 or stopping by the U. S. Steel Yard Box Office.
Notes: The RailCats played Sunday without veterans Jay Pecci, Cristian Guerrero and Randall Simon in the lineup as all three got a scheduled day of rest. Those three were third, fourth and fifth in the RailCats batting order in each of the first three games of the series … the ‘Cats have won four-of-seven from Joliet this season. The two clubs will still meet seven more times before the regular season concludes … the RailCats hit a season-high five doubles in the game … the ‘Cats are 13-5 in Joliet since the start of the 2008 season.