KENOSHA, Wis. 6-13-2010 — Tom Thornton allowed just one hit over six shutout innings in his first start of the year, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats survived a four-run ninth inning rally to defeat the Lake County Fielders, 6-4 Sunday afternoon at the Carthage Baseball Field, winning their fourth series in a row.
Thornton (1-0), starting for the first time this year in place of the injured Brad Halsey, was the second RailCats starter in as many days to control the Fielders bats, retiring 10 in a row after Hank Lanto’s two-out second inning single. Thornton walked three and struck out four in his outing, only once allowing a runner to reach third base. The left-hander – who won a team-high eight times in 20 starts last season – left after the sixth inning in his first start after beginning the year with four relief outings.
For the second day in a row, the RailCats supplied the offense early, with Tanner Townsend and Mike Rohde each doubling in the second to score one run. Rohde would later score when John Parham hit a ground ball off the first base bag that ended up in right field and scored the second run.
In the sixth, the RailCats built on their lead despite not getting a ball out of the infield. Mike Massaro and Townsend walked back-to-back to lead off the inning and Jeff Beachum reached on a perfect bunt down the third base line. With the bases loaded, Lake County’s Corey Bass walked Rohde to force in one run, and the ‘Cats scored another run on a wild pitch. A Fielders error knocked a fifth run across, and Adam Klein smacked a run-scoring double to deep center to score Chris Carrara in the top of the ninth.
With the RailCats seemingly poised for their second straight shutout win, Aaron Cook retired the first two hitters in the ninth to get the ‘Cats an out away from a 6-0 victory. But Lanto snuck a ground ball through the infield for a hit, and Joseph Ramos did the same to put runners at first and second. Brandon Anderson walked to load the bases and Amos Ramon laid into a 2-0 pitch for a grand slam home run that got the RailCats within 6-4. Cook would walk Kyle Higgins before Andy Shipman came in with Joshua Short representing the tying run. After falling behind 3-0, Shipman came back to strikeout Short on a perfect breaking ball to earn his league-leading seventh save.
Jake Ruckle (0-1), like Thornton making a spot start, took the loss after allowing the two second inning runs on four hits. Ruckle went the first four innings and Bass the next two before Matt Schweitzer and Garrett Sherrill closed the game out for Lake County.
The RailCats out-hit the Fielders 7-5 and drew six walks in the game, with seven different RailCats collecting the seven hits. Lanto had two of the five Lake County hits.
The RailCats (13-10) seven-game road trip moves to Kansas City starting Monday night at 7:05 p.m. when they will tangle with the T-Bones (14-9). Brad Furnish (2-0, 3.60 ERA) is scheduled to start for the RailCats against Kansas City southpaw Reid Santos (1-2, 7.78 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: The RailCats are a season-high three games over .500 and improve to 9-3 in the month of June … the RailCats had not won a series before taking two of three from Winnipeg June 1-2, the first of the four straight series victories … Jay Pecci went 0-for-5 Sunday to see his five-game hitting streak end … Sunday marked the first time this year Cristian Guerrero was not in the starting lineup. Townsend started the game in right … the RailCats are 8-0 this year when out-hitting their opponent.