RailCats ride big first inning for second straight night, win fourth straight

RailCats ride big first inning for second straight night, win fourth straight

A four-run bottom of the first, five innings of one-run ball from rookie right-hander Jumpei Akanuma in his second professional start and a three-hit night from Colin Willis led the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 6-3 win over the Kansas City T-Bones on Saturday night at U.S. Steel Yard in front of 4,726. The RailCats have now won a season-high-tying four straight games and improved to 5-0 against the T-Bones.

Akanuma (2-0) yielded just an unearned run on two hits in a career-high five innings pitched. Akanuma walked none, struck out three and retired seven of the final eight batters he faced.

Madison, Ind., native Ryan Thurston (3) allowed two runs on three hits over two innings of relief in his third hold while Felix Carvallo (3) secured the save with his second six-out save in as many nights. Carvallo’s two scoreless innings out of the bullpen also extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 7.1.

Alex Crosby recorded the first hit of the night with an infield single up the third base line to begin the bottom of the first. Evan Marzilli then drew a walk before a wild pitch from Erik Manoah Jr. moved both baserunners into scoring position. Will Savage followed Marzilli with an RBI single to center, bringing home Crosby from third for the game’s first run. Back-to-back one-out walks from Andy De Jesus and Wilfredo Gimenez doubled the Gary lead before Ray Jones made it 3-0 after getting plunked on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded. Chesterton, Ind., native Chase Dawson delivered the final run of the inning with the third bases-loaded walk of the frame.  

Kansas City (20-20) got on the board with an unearned run in the fourth. Dylan Tice reached on an infield single with one out before Chris Colabello reached on a fielder’s choice. Two hitters later, Christian Correa reached on a fielding error by RailCats shortstop Marcus Mooney, allowing Tice to score from third.

Gary (18-21) went back up by four on a solo home run from Willis to begin the bottom of the fifth. The homer was Willis’ third of the year and the RailCats’ first long ball of the series.

Daniel Nava cut the RailCats to 5-2 with a solo homer down the left field line in the fifth. The homer was Nava’s second in as many nights and his first from the right side of the plate.

Kansas City added their final run in the top of the seventh to make it a 5-3 contest. Shawn O’Malley singled to center with one out before the second of two errors committed by Mooney at short allowed Casey Gillaspie to reach base safely. Forest Allday followed Gillaspie with a five-pitch walk before Danny Mars scored O’Malley from third with a two-out RBI single to left.

The RailCats scored the final run of the night in the bottom of the seventh. Willis tripled off the top of the right field wall to begin the inning before Gimenez brought him home with an RBI single down the right field line.

Manoah Jr. (2-1) was charged with his first loss of the season after allowing five runs over five innings. The right-hander yielded five hits and four walks while striking out a pair.

Gary and Kansas City conclude their series on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. Then T-Bones send right-hander Tommy Collier (3-3, 4.87) to the mound in the series finale while the ‘Cats have yet to announce their starter.

Sunday’s game is another Times Family Sunday and Sunday FUNday. Sunday Funday includes $5 cocktails, pre-game catch on the field, presented by Beacon Hill Dental, and Kids Run the Bases. The Times Family Sunday special includes $15 tickets for two adults and up to four kids in NWI Times paper and social media outlets. Sunday’s game also features the NorthShore Health Fair.

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.