GARY, Ind. — Cristian Guerrero and Mike Reese each hit solo home runs, and Willie Glen threw five scoreless innings but the Rockford RiverHawks scored twice in the eighth to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 5-4 Saturday afternoon in an exhibition game at U. S. Steel Yard.
In a scheduled 10-inning contest, both sides got excellent work from their starting pitchers before the bullpens traded runs in the game’s late stages. Rockford tallied three times in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead before the ‘Cats tied the score with a pair of seventh inning runs. The RiverHawks broke the stalemate in the eighth with two runs and held on over the final three innings.
Guerrero started the game in right field and kicked off the scoring with a no-doubt blast leading off the second inning off former Major Leaguer Mike Wood. Guerrero’s first spring home run landed just under the scoreboard in left-center field and was all the scoring the game would see over the first five innings.
Glen, who did not allow a run in eight innings in his first spring with the ‘Cats since 2007, blew through the Rockford lineup in an efficient five innings of work. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed only two hits, walked just one and recorded five strikeouts, retiring the last seven batters he faced. Meanwhile, Wood settled down to retire 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced and match Glen, allowing two hits and one walk in 5.0 innings.
Andy Shipman replaced Glen in the sixth and quickly ran into trouble. After the first two runners reached, Kevin House looped a double down the right field line to tie the score and push runners to second and third with no one out. Rico Santana drove a second run home with a sacrifice fly, and House later swiped third base and scored on a Hank Lanto throwing error.
Trailing 3-1 into the bottom of the seventh, Reese led off the inning with a sharp single to left against Kyle Wright (1-0) and scored when Guerrero whacked a double off the warning track in deep left. Guerrero himself came around to tie the game later in the inning on a Kevin O’Sullivan throwing error.
Rockford plated the winning runs in the eighth inning off a pair of RailCats relievers, with Santana and O’Sullivan reaching on back-to-back walks issued, respectively, by Brad Furnish (0-1) and Steve Teno. Both runners came across home later in the inning, with Adam Shorsher supplying one of the RBIs with a double.
Reese hit his first home run of the spring in the bottom of the ninth against Wright, but the RailCats would never threaten again as Scott Roehl pitched a clean bottom of the tenth to pick up the save. J.J. Potrikus rounded out the night from the RailCats ‘pen with 1.2 innings of hitless relief.
The RailCats (1-3) continue their seven-game exhibition slate Sunday afternoon with their first road game of the spring at Rockford’s Road Ranger Stadium at 1 p.m.
The ‘Cats open the 2010 regular season with a six-game homestand starting Thursday, May 20 at 7 p.m. The homestand includes the season’s first Fireworks Friday (May 21 at 7 p.m.), the always-popular Fleece Blanket Giveaway (first 1,500 fans, May 22 at 6 p.m.) and the first The Times Family Sunday (May 23 at 2 p.m.), which also features an adult t-shirt giveaway (first 1,500 adults age 18 and over). For complete promotional information or to buy tickets now, call the RailCats front office at 219.882.2255 or visit www.railcatsbaseball.com.