posttrib
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

RailCats manage split in doubleheader; win streak stopped at 8

Scott M Bort/Post-Tribune Gary RailCats  MediDay Mugs RC TAGERT GREG 2 050610.jpg  PTSPT

Scott M Bort/Post-Tribune Gary RailCats Media Day Mugs RC TAGERT GREG 2 050610.jpg PTSPT

storyidforme: 51478254
tmspicid: 5578245
fileheaderid: 2662941

Updated: July 7, 2013 12:12AM



GARY — The RailCats came up one short of tying their franchise record for consecutive wins.

Former Hammond, Purdue and RailCats outfielder Mike Coles scored the go-ahead run in the ninth, as Winnipeg put up three unearned in the inning to top Gary 5-2 on Saturday night at the Steel Yard. The RailCats’ loss in the first game of a doubleheader — with each scheduled for seven innings, after Friday’s rainout — halted their win streak at eight.

The RailCats managed a split, taking the second game by an identical 5-2 score.

With one out in the ninth of the first game, Coles reached on a fielding error by shortstop Zac Mitchell. After Coles stole second, Josh Mazzola dumped a two-out single to left, with Coles narrowing beating Adam Klein’s throw to the plate. Nick Liles added a run-scoring double, and Casey Haerther followed with a run-scoring single.

Earlier, Mitchell — who had entered the game after the third-inning ejection of Danny Pulfer, who had argued he foul-tipped the ball on a strikeout call — had made an excellent play deep in the hole with a runner on third with two outs in the seventh to maintain a 2-2 tie, and had driven in the game’s first run with a fifth-inning double.

“That’s what we’ve talked about — that inconsistency,” RailCats manager Greg Tagert said between games. “He had an absolute game-saver, he had the big hit, had it all going for him — I don’t want to say it was a lack of concentration, but we have to eliminate those other instances.

“The most important thing, what shows up against upper-echelon, championship-caliber clubs, if you make a mistake, it’s going to bite you, and the floodgates opened right there.”

The Goldeyes (21-19), who won last season’s American Association title, prevented the RailCats (25-16) from matching their best stretch of nine straight wins, accomplished from July 29 to Aug. 6 in 2008 and again from July 15 to 24 in 2011.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Ari Ronick notched his first win since June 4, navigating through five innings, allowing two runs on five hits with a season-high seven strikeouts and three walks. He had been 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in his previous four starts.

In the first game, the RailCats had taken a 2-0 lead in the fifth. With two outs, Mitchell delivered an RBI double to score Christian Vitters, who had led off with a single. To no avail, the Goldeyes claimed Mitchell’s ball down the left-field line was foul. Chase Tucker followed with an RBI single under the glove of first baseman Haerther.

The Goldeyes answered with two runs in the sixth, after loading the bases on back-to-back singles by Amos Ramon and Mazzola, and a bunt single by Liles. Haerther then hit a sacrifice fly to get Winnipeg on the board, and former RailCats outfielder Fehlandt Lentini added an RBI single, ending the night for starter Will Krout.

“Good ballgame, a lot of close calls for both clubs,” Tagert said. “You have to give Winnipeg credit — they just keep coming at you.”

Notes: The RailCats were hoping to avoid using Clay Zavada on Saturday, wanting to give the heavily worked closer extended rest after he last pitched on Tuesday. And he did not pitch in either game. … Set-up man Marco Gonzalez, though, was at full strength on Saturday. And he took over on the mound in the seventh inning of the first game of the doubleheader, going 1 1/3. … James Adkins (shoulder) was eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but did not, as Tagert was weighing his options with the roster. … Billy Spottiswood (1-0, 2.53 ERA) is scheduled to start the series — and 11-game homestand — finale for the RailCats on Sunday, against Winnipeg lefty Justin Garcia (4-1, 3.18).



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.