Gary Takes 1-0 Series Lead In American Association Championship
Gary, IN – The RailCats put six runs on the Wichita bullpen to take a 9-4 victory over the Wingnuts in game one of the American Association Championship Series at U. S. Steel Yard on Tuesday night.
U. S. Steel Yard will host game two as the RailCats look for their first championship since 2007.
The game went back-and-forth with the Wingnuts taking a 4-3 lead on a three-run home run by Jake Kahaulelio in the top of the seventh. Working against lefty James Giuletti, the RailCats rallied and tied the game when Giuletti hit Zac Mitchell with a pitch.
Andrew Aizenstadt entered after the hit by pitch and Danny Pulfer greeted him with a two-run double down the line to take a 6-4 lead for the ‘Cats. Adam Klein followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 7-4 after seven.
In the eighth, the RailCats added two insurance runs on an RBI single by Brian Kolb through a drawn-in infield and a fielder’s choice by Nick Liles.
Ian Durham struck out Abel Nieves to end the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Will Krout, who entered for the RailCats after the Kahaulelio homer off of Alain Quijano, earned the victory.
After the RailCats stranded two in the bottom of the first with two outs, Wichita came back to score the first run of the series in the top of the second. League MVP CJ Ziegler leadoff the inning with a walk and moved to second on Abel Nieves’ single. Ziegler then went to third on a fly ball to center off the bat of Cole Armstrong and scored on David Amberson’s double to left-center.
With the Wingnuts leading 1-0, the RailCats had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers in the bottom of the fourth. The RailCats loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk against Junior Guerra before Guerra came back to get Brian Kolb to line out for the first out of the inning. Drew Martinez then grounded into a double play to end the inning and hold the game at 1-0.
The RailCats finally broke through against Guerra in the fifth. Danny Pulfer punched a double down the first base line and Adam Klein drove him home with a double over the head of David Amberson in right. Mike Massaro then singled and moved to second on the throw home to put runners on second and third with one out.
Guerra, came back to strike out Cristian Guerrero and Reid Fronk to end the threat in the inning and keep the game tied at one.
In the sixth, the RailCats knocked Guerra from the game and took the lead. With the bases loaded and two out, Guerra was removed in favor of lefty Nick Walters. Walters then walked in a run when Adam Klein drew ball four and Mike Massaro brought in another with a dribbler base hit up the third base line to take a 3-1 lead.
Leading 3-1, Alain Quijano went back out in the top of the seventh for the RailCats. David Amberson greeted him by legging out an infield single to begin the inning and with one-out; Ryan Khoury walked. Jake Kahaulielo hammered the first pitch he saw out to left for a three-run homer to take the lead 4-3.
Quijano retired John Rodriguez before being removed after six and ⅔ innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out five and threw 118 pitches.
The Wingnuts threatened in the top of the eight loading the bases with one out. Ryan Khoury hit a comebacker back to Lindquist who threw home to force out Cole Armstrong for the second out of the inning. Kyle then retired Jake Kahaulelio on a pop fly to shallow right.
Adam Klein had three RBI for the RailCats, while Mike Massaro and Cristian Guerrero each had three hits as the RailCats recorded 17 in the game.
The RailCats continue their championship series with Wichita on Wednesday night at U. S. Steel Yard with a 7:10 first pitch. The RailCats will throw RHP Stephen Hiscock (1-0, 1.35 ERA), RHP Chris Smith (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for Wichita.