Baseball: RailCats roll past Sioux Falls Canaries 8-3
GARY — After several relatively quiet games offensively, the RailCats broke out Tuesday night against Sioux Falls.
Josh Romanski went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs as the RailCats downed the Canaries 8-3 at the Steel Yard.
Romanski’s two-run triple highlighted a three-run sixth that gave the RailCats (21-16) a 5-1 lead. He also had a run-scoring double in the eighth, an inning in which Drew Muren deposited a two-run homer to right to make it 8-3.
“We have a pretty energetic bunch,” Romanski said. “Sometimes you just show up to the field and it feels good. ... We swung the bats good and we played with that high energy.”
Said RailCats manager Greg Tagert: “We’re trying to continue to mix and match, but we have to get some consistency from the lineup. The only way to do that is if the manager runs them out there.”
Stephen Hiscock won his first game since June 4, allowing three runs on six hits in six-plus innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. He was 0-2 in his previous three starts.
The RailCats took a 1-0 lead in the second on Craig Maddox’s double and Romanski’s one-out single. They added a run in the third on singles by Drew Martinez and Ryan Babineau,and Maddox’s sacrifice fly.
Sioux Falls (14-23) settled for a run in the sixth, after having runners on the corners with no outs, drawing to within 2-1.
The RailCats answered with three runs to open up the game. Romanski had the two-run triple, and just-activated Ryan Brockett scored Romanski with a squeeze bunt.
Chris Duffy’s opposite-field homer to start the seventh made it 5-2. Stephen Branca’s double ended Hiscock’s night, with Branca coming around to score on a flyout and groundout. With a runner on first base, Ethan Gibbons struck out Brandon Jones on a 3-and-2 pitch.
“One of the differences in the ballgame was Gibbons, able to limit the damage a little bit,” Tagert said.
Before Tuesday’s game, the RailCats activated Brockett from the disabled list. The shortstop was hit in the face by a knuckling line drive, partially deflected by his glove, June 16 at Grand Prairie. Brockett, who was making just his third start of the season, had his left eye almost immediately swell shut — “like a golf ball,” he said — and he remained in a hospital overnight.
Fortunately, Brockett — who made his season debut June 13 at Lincoln, after suffering a broken bone in his right hand in a May 10 exhibition game — did not suffer a broken orbital bone nor a concussion.
Brockett — still sporting bruising around his left eye, as well as near his right thumb — went 0-for-1 with an RBI, two sacrifice bunts and a hit-by-pitch Tuesday. He flawlessly handled multiple chances in the field.
“A couple of freak injuries, for sure,” Brockett said before the game. “I’m just looking forward to getting my season off on the right foot.”
Tagert was hitting infield to Brockett about an 11/2 hours before Tuesday’s game.
“He’s ready to go, and certainly we’re excited to have him back, just like we were last week,” Tagert said before the game. “If anything good can come of this (eye injury), it gave the wrist a little time to get stronger.
“The club’s excited. There are a lot of guys here who haven’t seen Ryan Brockett play and want to know what the big fuss is all about. Hopefully, he can show them.”
Tuesday marked just the third game this season that the RailCats’ starting infield included Brockett at short, Zac Mitchell at second base and Danny Pulfer at third.
“Almost 40 games in — not that it’s getting late in the year — but we’d certainly like to see what our ballclub looks like as we envisioned it,” Tagert said.
Notes: To make room on the roster for Brockett, the RailCats released Caleb Palensky. … The RailCats are scheduled to start Stephen Bougher (2-2, 3.27 ERA) on Wednesday against Sioux Falls left-hander Joe Bircher (1-3, 3.92).