The Gary SouthShore RailCats concluded the homestand with a 6-1 record following an 11-5 victory at U. S. Steel Yard Thursday afternoon sweeping the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for just the second time in the ten-year history of the ‘Cats.
The RailCats (23-17) grabbed their sixth consecutive win making it 12 of the last 13 at U. S. Steel Yard thanks largely to a strong effort offensively. The ‘Cats were sparked by another exceptional day at the plate by Adam Klein who reached base four times and drove in four with two walks and two hits including a double. Brad Boyer and Cristian Guerrero, the heart of the RailCats lineup, each added a pair of hits and a trio of RBI on the day. Shortstop Kyle Haines reached base in the contest adding a single, double and a pair of walks.
University of Illinois product Scott Shaw earned the win for the RailCats after 6.1 solid innings of work Thursday. Through six innings Shaw allowed just two runs and put his team in excellent position for another victory. The Gurnee, Ill. native improved to 4-3 on the year after allowing five runs on ten hits and striking out five RedHawks. Brian Grening continued his string of strong performances surrendering just two hits through 1.2 innings. Jeremy Hauer allowed a hit in the ninth and nothing more to secure the sweep of Fargo.
After entering the season with a record of 27-81 (.250) all-time against the RedHawks, the RailCats improved to 5-4 against Fargo in 2011. This was just ‘Cats second sweep of the RedHawks in franchise history with the other coming in May of 2008. The RailCats extended their advantage over the Wichita Wingnuts to two games in the Central Division of the American Association pending the outcome of the evening games.
Fargo-Moorhead jumped out to an early one-run lead in the first before the ‘Cats answered with three runs in the home half of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. Mike Coles reached when the first pitch of the ballgame caught him in the shoulder and scored a few batters later on a base-hit by Jesse Hoorelbeke. The RailCats did not waste any time erasing the early deficit as Klein walked and Brian Kolb singled to left to set the stage for the heart of the order. A Boyer single drove in Klein and a Guerrero sacrifice fly to center brought home Kolb for a 2-1 ‘Cats lead. Toddric Johnson stretched the advantage to three with a single scoring Boyer.
The RedHawks cut the lead to one with a run in the second off Shaw. Kole Zimmerman singled to right and stole second before scoring on a Coles single.
A tight game turned into a healthy lead for the RailCats when the home team dropped five runs on the RedHawks in the fourth. After walking the first two ‘Cats in the inning, Fargo starter Scott Fogelson was lifted in favor of Matt Mossey. A walk to Chris Carrara with one out loaded the bases for the red-hot Klein. The fleet-footed outfielder’s double to the right-center gap cleared the bases to give the ‘Cats a 6-2 lead. Boyer tripled two batters later driving in Klein and scored on an RBI single by Guerrero for an 8-3 RailCats advantage.
The RailCats edge grew to six on an RBI single from Klein scoring Carrara in the sixth but shrunk to four after a three-run rally by Fargo-Moorhead the very next inning. A single to center by Zach Penprase and double by Nic Jackson put runners on second and third with nobody out. Penprase crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Hoorelbeke and two runs scored on a Jim Fasano homer to the deepest part of right-center to make it a 9-5 ballgame.
Two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth sealed the win for the ‘Cats. Carrara reached on an error and both Klein and pinch-hitter Mike Rohde walked to load the bases for the heart of the order. Boyer flew out to center to drive in Carrara and Guerrero singled allowing Rohde to extend the RailCats lead to 11-5.