Six shutout innings from Trevor Lubking and a season-high 10 runs led the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 10-1 victory over the Sioux City Explorers and their first series win of the year on Thursday night at U.S. Steel Yard. Every starter reached base safely at least one time for the ‘Cats and eight of the nine reached base twice or more.
Lubking (2-0) and has allowed just one earned run in 11 innings in two starts. The southpaw faced the minimum through 5.2 innings, retired nine in a row at one point and yielded just two hits and a walk while striking out a season-high seven batters in the win.
Gary (3-3) took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first. Sean Guida was hit in the right leg to begin the frame before Andy De Jesus recorded the first hit of the game with a single to right. Randy Santiesteban delivered the first run of the game with an RBI double to left before Colin Willis brought home De Jesus with an RBI groundout.
The ‘Cats increased their lead to six with four runs in the second. Evan Marzilli drew a five-pitch walk to begin the inning before Danny De La Calle reached on a throwing error by Explorers third baseman Jose Sermo. Marcus Mooney then advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt before Guida recorded his first professional hit and RBI with a single to right. De Jesus made it 4-0 with an RBI single to right before Santiesteban was hit on the left shoulder to load the bases. Willis drove in his second and third runs of the night with a two-run single off the right field wall on a hop, plating both Guida and De Jesus.
Gary tacked on another run in the fifth to go up by seven. John Price Jr. doubled to center to begin the inning on a ball that X’s center fielder Daytona Bryden lost in the lights. Morgan Blatnik then reached on a fielder error by Nate Samson at shortstop, giving the RailCats runners on the corners. Two batters later, Guida reached after getting hit before Mooney drove in Price Jr. with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The RailCats scored their final three runs in then sixth after batting through the order for the second time on the evening. Willis doubled down the left field line with one out before scoring on stand-up RBI triple from Price Jr. Gary loaded the bases after Blatnik and De La Calle were hit consecutively before Mooney drove in his second run of the game with an RBI single to center. Zach Welz replaced Guida as a pinch-hitter and drew a bases loaded walk for the RailCats final run.
Sioux City (2-5) avoided being shutout with their only run of the evening in the ninth. Former RailCat Sermo led off the inning with a double off the center field wall before coming around to an RBI double from Dean Green.
Jumpei Akanuma and Kaleb Fontenot made their home debuts for Gary in relief. Akanuma tossed two shutout innings while Fontenot allowed a run on two hits in his second appearance of the season.
Zach Jemiola (0-2) was charged with his second consecutive loss in his first road start of the year. The right-hander allowed a season-high nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and two walks over 5.1 innings.
Gary continues their six-game homestand on Friday against the Sioux Falls Canaries at 7:10 p.m. The RailCats have yet to announce their starter while the Canaries send 2018 RailCat Keaton Steele (0-1, 3.00) to the mound in the series opener.
Friday’s game is the first Fifth Third Bank Fireworks Friday of the season and Valparaiso Community Night, also presented by Fifth Third Bank.
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.