Three hits for the second straight night from catcher Wilfredo Gimenez wasn’t enough for Gary as the RailCats dropped the middle game of the series to the Texas AirHogs, 8-6, on another hot evening at AirHogs Stadium in the Lone Star State. Wednesday’s loss was also Gary’s first defeat when scoring at least six runs.
Trailing 8-4 heading into the ninth, Gary nearly tied the game and forced the bottom of the ninth. Will Savage reached on an infield single with one out before Colin Willis reached base for the third time on the night with his second of two walks. Two batters later, Gimenez made it an 8-6 game with a two-run double down the left field line into the corner. Ray Jones represented the tying run at the plate but he lined out to center to end the game.
Texas (9-33) struck first with three two-out runs in the first. Josh Prince doubled to begin the inning before Li Ning reached on a push-bunt up the third base line. Two batters later, Jonathan Moroney brought home Prince with an RBI single to center. Back-to-back RBI singles from Javion Randle and Yang Jin increased the Hogs’ lead to 3-0.
Gary (19-23) got on the board in the third. Marcus Mooney, Alex Crosby and Evan Marzilli all walked consecutively to begin the inning. Two batters later, Willis brought home Crosby from third with a sacrifice fly to right for the RailCats first run.
The AirHogs took their biggest lead of the series at 7-1 with four runs in the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Prince and Ning gave Texas runners on the corners before Stewart Ijames drove in Prince with a sacrifice fly to center. Two batters later, Randle scored Ning with an RBI single to left before Chen Junpeng delivered the final runs of the frame with a two-out, two-run single to center.
The RailCats cut the AirHogs lead to 7-4 with three runs in the top of the sixth. Gimenez doubled for his first of three hits to begin the inning before Andy De Jesus brought him around to score with an RBI triple to left-center. Mooney followed De Jesus with an RBI double down the right field line before Marzilli scored Mooney for the final run of the frame with an RBI double to left-center.
Texas added their final run of the night in the bottom of the sixth. Ning and Ijames drew back-to-back one-out walks before a two-out fielding error by Savage at second base allowed Ning to score from third.
Nick Floyd allowed one unearned run over a career-high 3.1 innings of relief while Justin Sinibaldi (1-3) was charged with the loss for Gary. The right-hander allowed a season-high seven runs on 11 hits while matching a career-high with six strikeouts.
Zhang Tao (1-4) was activated from the Disabled List before the game and recorded his first win of the year for Texas. The right-hander went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks.
Gary concludes their three-game series against Texas on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. Right-hander Gan Quan (0-4, 6.00) gets the ball for the AirHogs while the RailCats have yet to announce their starter for the series finale.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard for the start of their season-long 10-game homestand on Friday, July 12th at 7:10 p.m. vs. the Cleburne Railroaders. Friday’s game is Kevin “Bacon” Night, and includes bacon themed concession specials throughout the stadium. Friday’s game is also Nurses Appreciation Night and another Fifth Third Bank Postgame Fireworks Friday.Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.