Sports News

RailCats Cough Up Big Early Lead, Fall 5-4 in Fargo (July 21, 2010)

Gary SouthShore RailCats BaseballFARGO, N.D. 7-21-2010Cristian Guerrero’s 10th home run of the year gave the Gary SouthShore RailCats a 4-0 lead Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field, but the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks would score five unanswered runs to come from behind and win 5-4.

The RailCats lost for the first time when taking a lead of more than two runs in a game, watching Fargo score twice in the fourth, twice more in the sixth and once in the seventh to erase a four-run RailCats third inning.  The ‘Cats put together three straight two-out hits in that third but did little else the rest of the way, finishing with just six total hits and losing for the second time in as many nights.

Fargo-Moorhead starter Jake Laber struggled in the early going, walking a season-high three men and giving the RailCats a chance in the third when he walked Jay Pecci to put runners at first and second with two outs.  With the runners going on a 3-2 pitch, Mike Massaro lined a double down the left field line to score a pair and put the RailCats in front.  One pitch later, Guerrero sent a line drive missile over the wall in left to stretch the lead to 4-0.  With the home run, Guerrero becomes the first RailCat ever to hit double-digit home runs in three straight seasons.

The RedHawks got their first runs of the night in the fourth inning against right-hander Nolan Nicholson, who authored his second straight solid outing.  With two outs and runner at third, Eric Campbell doubled in the first Fargo run before Jay Cox plated Campbell with a base hit.

Nicholson went 5.0 innings and allowed two runs on six hits, walking just one and striking out two.  The right-hander left in line for his third win, but Cox hit a two-out, two-run home run off Zeb Engle to tie the score in the sixth.  Jeff Williams (0-2) gave up the winning run in the eighth when Zach Penprase got a bunt down with runners at first and third and no one out, scoring Kole Zimmerman easily.

The RailCats had a glorious opportunity to add to a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning but failed to capitalize.  Tanner Townsend was hit by a pitch leading off the inning and went to third, with Louis Ott reaching second, on a throwing error by Fargo second baseman Carlo Cota.  With runners at second and third and no one out, Laber struck out Mike Rohde and reliever Alex Kent came in to strikeout Mike Valadez and get Chris Carrara to fly out to end the inning.

Laber allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks in 5.1 innings before Kent (2-0) delivered the RedHawks second brilliant long relief outing in as many days.  The rookie Kent went 3.1 innings allowing only two hits before leaving with two outs in the ninth.  Casey Hoorelbeke, Tuesday’s winning pitcher, got Jay Pecci to ground out on the first pitch he saw in the ninth to end the game and earn his first save.

Massaro was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to lead the RailCats, accounting for exactly half of the RailCats total hit output.  Mike Coles went 3-for-4 to lead Fargo, while Cox was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

The RailCats (26-29) and RedHawks (33-19) finish out their four-game series Thursday with a special matinee 12:30 p.m. game.  Left-hander Brad Halsey (3-4, 3.95 ERA) will start for the RailCats opposite Fargo-Moorhead right-hander T.J. Stanton (2-3, 3.61 ERA).  The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.

Notes: Massaro now has five doubles in his last five games after doubling only four times in the first 48 games of the season … the RailCats have scored in only one inning of a game four of their last five times out … Williams lost for the first time since his first game as a RailCat, May 24.