JOLIET, IL. 7-31-2010— Jon Nelson’s infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Joliet JackHammers to a 4-3 win over the Gary SouthShore RailCats Saturday night at Silver Cross Field, just an inning after the ‘Cats had rallied with a pair of runs in the ninth to force extra innings.
After the RailCats fifth error of the game pushed Josh Flores to third base with one out in the tenth, the RailCats opted to walk Brad Correll to put runners at first and third to set up a double play. Nelson hit next and chopped a high bouncer between shortstop and third that the ‘Cats could get no out on, sending Flores home with the winning run.
Hamstrung by the season-high five errors and facing overwhelming Joliet starter Bear Bay, the RailCats needed their first ninth inning rally of the year just to get the game to the 10th. After Bay surrendered two hits in eight innings, Joliet brought closer Griffin Bailey (2-2) out of the bullpen for the ninth. Adam Klein started the inning by drawing and walk and Mike Massaro followed with a line drive to shallow left that Jonathan Wyatt dove for but missed, turning it into a double and putting runners at second and third. Jay Pecci hit a fly ball to left to score Klein, but Massaro was still at second with two outs before Randall Simon smacked a ground ball into center to plate Massaro and tie the game at three.
The RailCats entered Saturday’s game 0-30 when trailing after eight innings, and while that record will slip to 0-31 the comeback at least marked the first time this year the RailCats caused an opposing closer to blow a save. Bailey would rebound to work a 1-2-3 ninth, however, to earn the win.
Bay was perfect through the first five innings before Louis Ott extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single leading off the sixth. One batter later, Mike Rohde doubled into deep left to score Ott and cut the Joliet lead to 2-1. Bay would allow little else in a magnificent start, allowing two hits and one walk in 8.0 innings, striking out eight.
Willie Glen was also sharp Saturday, going eight innings and earning a no decision. Joliet scored an unearned run in the first inning off Glen – on another throw from a catcher that was wild to second base – and Jonathan Wyatt hit a solo home run in the third to give Joliet their 2-0 lead. Wyatt would score his third run of the game in the eighth on a Nelson double.
Glen allowed three runs (two earned) in 8.0 innings, walking one and striking out eight. With his eighth strikeout – a whiff of Chris Colton to end the eight – Glen passed longtime Northern League hurler Chris Swiatkiewicz and moved into fifth place on the all-time Northern League strikeout list. Glen now has 461 strikeouts in his four-year RailCats career and 941 as a professional.
Andy Shipman (2-1) pitched the ninth and took the loss, although the run he allowed was unearned.
After collecting 34 hits in the first two games of the series, both RailCats wins, the ‘Cats had only four hits Saturday. Nelson and Wyatt each had three of Joliet’s 10 hits to pace the ‘Hammers win.
The RailCats (32-33) and JackHammers (34-30) wind down their four-game series Sunday afternoon at 2:10 p.m. LaPorte native Andy Weeks (0-0, 7.50 ERA) is scheduled to make his first professional start opposite Joliet right-hander Ross Stout (5-7, 5.26 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: The loss drops the RailCats to 3-2 in extra-inning games this year … Glen has not lost since June 11, a stretch of nine starts … Ott is 16-for-35 (.457) during his nine-game hitting streak … Simon has an RBI in each of his first three games with the RailCats … the ‘Cats lost for just the fifth time in 17 games at Silver Cross Field since the start of the 2008 season.