GARY, IN. 6-29-2010 – The Joliet JackHammers built a 6-0 lead for the second game in a row and survived a three-run ninth inning rally to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 8-6 Tuesday night at U. S. Steel Yard, handing the ‘Cats their third consecutive loss.
Joliet started the scoring with a three-run second inning, starting when Josh Flores singled in Freddie Thon from second base. Two batters later, Joe Billick hit a grounder to shortstop that Jeff Beachum threw away for an error to score one, and Jonathan Wyatt knocked in another with a two-out single.
The ‘Hammers hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth, with Brad Correll launching a two-run shot to deep left and Jon Nelson blasting a solo shot one pitch later. That made the score 6-0 off Tom Thornton (1-2), who went 6.1 innings allowing 11 hits, six runs (one earned) and five walks in taking the loss.
The RailCats made it a ballgame in the bottom of the fourth inning when Beachum and Louis Ott started the frame with back-to-back base hits. Mike Rohde drove home Beachum with a double to right, and Ott and Rohde would come in to score later in the inning on consecutive groundouts to make it 6-3. That would be all Devin Anderson (2-1) would allow, earning the win by scattering nine hits and two walks over 6.0 innings, striking out six.
After Joliet added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, the RailCats mounted a big rally in the bottom of the ninth. John Parham reached on an error to open the frame, and with one out Adam Klein singled him to second. Relief pitcher Brad Furnish – forced into the lineup and playing rightfield with the RailCats decimated by injuries – singled on a line drive after Klein’s hit to score Parham and earn Furnish an RBI. Mike Massaro followed with a hit to load the bases and Mike Reese singled to make it 8-5, but the RailCats would score only one more on a Beachum fly out and fall 8-6 when Ott grounded out to first with the tying runs on base.
The RailCats and JackHammers each had 13 hits, with Thon leading the way by going 3-for-4 for Joliet. Massaro went 4-for-5 to lead the RailCats – his second four-hit game of the year – and Klein, Reese and Rohde each had two hits.
The RailCats (20-19) and JackHammers (19-18) wind down their series Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Brad Halsey (1-2, 3.69 ERA) starts opposite Rory Shortell (1-3, 4.98 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
The RailCats will welcome Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins to U. S. Steel Yard, where the former Chicago Cub will sign autographs before the game and pitch in a pregame Home Run Derby. It’s also a Wet Your Whistle Wednesday, presented by Miller Lite and X-Rock 103.9 FM, with $2 MGD and Miller Lite drafts available to all fans, 21 and over. For tickets or more information, call 219.882.2255 or visit www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: Chris Carrara started for the first time since June 22 with no other RailCats position players available, but was unable to swing the bat because of a wrist injury. In three plate appearances, Carrara tried to bunt each time, reaching on an error once and striking out on foul two-strike bunt attempts twice. He was replaced by Furnish in the seventh inning … the RailCats entered the game with only eight healthy position players … the JackHammers will win this series, their first series win over the RailCats since August 3-5, 2007 … the RailCats have lost three straight for the first time since May 20-22, the first three games of the season.