GARY, IND. — Two home runs from Tom Walraven, including a go-ahead, two-out, three run shot from the 24-year-old rookie in the bottom of the eighth propelled the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 10-7 win and a series split with the league’s best Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Thursday night in the series finale at U.S. Steel Yard. Walraven’s multi-homer night was the first of his career and the RailCats second in as many nights.
Tied at 7-7 entering the bottom of the eighth, RedHawks right-handed reliever Brent Jones replaced left-hander Joe Filomeno. Marcus Mooney reached on an infield single to begin the frame before Alex Crosby advanced him up to second with a sacrifice bunt. MJ Rookord then drew a five-pitch walk before Will Savage struck out looking for the second out of the inning. Behind 1-2 in the count, Tom Walraven belted the second of his two homers down the left field line to put the ‘Cats in front for good.
Devan Ahart gave Fargo-Moorhead (38-20) the opening lead of the night with a two-out solo homer to right in the first. Ahart’s homer was his second of the series and the RedHawks ninth of the series.
Gary (24-33) took their first lead with three unearned runs in the third. Crosby and Rookard singled consecutively to begin the inning before Savage advanced both baserunners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, however, Sebastian Kessay’s throw to first skipped into the right field corner, allowing both Crosby and Rookard to score. Walraven then moved Savage up to third with a sacrifice bunt before Andy De Jesus delivered the final run of the inning with a two-out RBI single to left-center.
The RedHawks quickly regained the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth. Leo Pina tripled to left-center to begin the inning before Brian Olson brought him into score with an RBI double down the left field line. Yhoxian Medina then tied the game at 3-3 with an opposite-field RBI single to right before All-Star Correlle Prime put Fargo back in front with a two-out, two-run single up the middle.
The RailCats countered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to take a 7-5 advantage. Mooney, Crosby and Rookard each walked consecutively to begin the inning before Savage brought home Mooney from third with a sacrifice fly to right., Walraven then launched a three-run missile off the top of the netting beyond the left field wall for the final runs of the inning.
Fargo trimmed the Gary lead to 7-6 with a two-out run in the sixth. Ahart walked with one out before stealing second. Two batters later, Prime drove in his third run of the night with an RBI single to center.
The RedHawks tied the game at 7-7 with their final run in the seventh. Olson walked with one out before Medina and Brennan Metzger singled consecutively to load the bases. Tim Colwell then scored Olson from third with a sacrifice fly to right.
Jack Alkire (1-2) recorded his first professional win with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief while Colby Morris (1) recorded his first professional hold after allowing one run over 1.2 innings. Alkire yielded two hits and struck out a pair while Morris allowed two hits and two walks in his second appearance of the year.
Felix Carvallo (5) secured the win with the save in the bottom of the ninth. The southpaw retired three of the four batters he faced, including one via a strikeout.
Jones (0-2) was tagged with his second loss of the year in his second appearance of the series. The right-hander allowed three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two.
Gary continues their season-long 10-day, 11-game homestand on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. in the beginning game of a four-game series against Chicago. Right-hander Frank Moscatiello (0-0, 3.46) makes his second start for the RailCats against the Dogs’ All-Star Luke Westphal (7-1, 2.12) in the opening game of the series. Friday’s game is also another Fifth Third Bank Postgame Fireworks Friday.
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.