Zac Mitchell blasted the first two home runs of his career, including a walk-off three-run shot in the ninth in the RailCats’ stunning 6-5 win over Winnipeg on Sunday to win the series. The RailCats improved to 26-16 with an outstanding 10-1 homestand while Winnipeg fell to 21-20.
In the bottom of the ninth, Craig Maddox led off the inning with a single. Christian Vitters pinch-ran for him but was caught stealing on a pitch in the dirt by Luis Alen. After Danny Pulfer grounded out to second, it appeared as if Winnipeg would take the series.
Brian Kolb and Drew Martinez kept the game alive with singles to right field to put the tying run on first. Zac Mitchell then lifted a high fly ball down the right-field line that just barely cleared the fence inside the foul pole to give the RailCats the victory.
It was Mitchell’s first two home runs as a professional and the first multi-homer game for a RailCat since Brad Boyer on July 9, 2011 at St. Paul. It was the first walk-off homer for the RailCats since Cristian Guerrero hit one in the 11th inning on June 8, 2011 against Sioux City.
The win capped off a 10-1 homestand on the longest stretch of home games in franchise history. The RailCats rallied to win with the bases empty and two out from a one-run, two-run and three-run deficit during the homestand.
Winnipeg wasted no time getting their offense started in the top of the first. Each of the four hitters reached on three hits and a walk against RailCats starter Billy Spottiswood. Josh Mazzola ripped a two-run double to right and Fehlandt Lentini added a fielder’s choice grounder to bring home the third run of the inning. Nick Liles hit a two-out RBI single to right-center to make it 4-0.
Liles’ single gave him seven hits in seven at-bats in the series. He finished the series 7-for-9 with a walk, a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Gary rallied with two outs and the bases clear in the second inning. Brian Kolb doubled down the left field line and Drew Martinez brought him home with a bloop single. Mitchell followed with his first career home run, a drive to right field that cut the deficit to 4-3. Mitchel had gone homerless in his first 220 career at-bats since debuting in 2012.
The Goldeyes added to their lead in the top of the fourth, on an RBI fielder’s choice by Mike Coles, to make it 5-3.
Winnipeg starter Justin Garcia had a quality outing, holding the RailCats to three runs on six hits in six innings. The right-hander walked one and struck out three.
Spottiswood exited after six innings in which he allowed five runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out one. Kyle Lindquist (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings for his first career victory.
The Goldeyes pitching staff set down 11 straight RailCats before the deciding ninth inning. Chris Kissock (0-3) was charged with the blown save and loss for the Goldeyes.
The RailCats have an off day on Monday before heading to Sioux City to start a four-game series and an eight-game road trip that also takes them to Winnipeg. The RailCats return home on July 11, when they will play a four-game series against Fargo-Moorhead.