Whitley Propels RailRiders to Milestone Victory

 

Moosic, Pa. –After combining for 24 hits on Tuesday night, runs proved scarce in the second game of a four-game tilt against the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A/Toronto Blue Jays). Starting pitcher Chase Whitley (2-1) and Alfredo Aceves combined to limit the Bisons attack to six base hits and united for 11 strikeouts as the RailRiders claimed a 5-0 victory Wednesday afternoon at PNC Field. The 5-0 victory marked the 575th for longtime SWB skipper Dave Miley (2007-Present), moving him past former SWB Red Barons head man Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history.

SWB’s offense received some luck in the first. After a promising base hit by Ramon Flores was erased on a caught stealing, Antoan Richardson reached on a walk. The speedy outfielder proceeded to swipe second and third before coming around to score on a throwing error by Munenori Kawasaki. The early run pushed the RailRiders advantage to 1-0.

Whitley scattered seven strikeouts in five complete innings of work, the right-hander has not allowed a run in his last 10 innings against the Bisons and 12 innings overall dating back to an outing against Rochester on April 9.

The RailRiders added an insurance run in the fourth after two quick groundball outs began the frame. Richardson received a walk and advanced to third after Russ Canzler reached on a throwing error by third baseman Kevin Nolan.  Richardson scored the game’s second run on a double steal that moved Canzler to second.

Aceves relieved Whitley and needed just 52 pitches to polish off the shutout. Aceves, in his second outing of the year, racked up four strikeouts to earn the four-inning save.  Aceves has not allowed a run in his nine innings pitched this campaign, totaling nine strikeouts along the way.

SWB added to its lead in the eighth, using a three-run frame to secure the win. Adonis Garcia extended his team-best 11-game hitting streak with a single that moved Canzler to third. Corban Joseph brought the insurance run around with a sacrifice fly to left. The final two runs of the ballgame came around to score on a Jose Pirela base hit to right. 

The RailRiders and Bisons continue their four-game set Thursday April 24, at 6:35 p.m. SWB will toss right-hander Shane Greene (0-0, 6.65) opposite Buffalo righty Liam Hendriks (2-0, 1.13).  John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame coverage beginning at 6:05 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

 

OFF THE RAILS:

Antoan Richard’s three steals gave him a team-high of seven.

SWB went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Chase Whitley recorded his first pickoff of the season, snagging Munenori Kawasaki at first.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Almonte’s Double Leads RailRiders to Victory

Moosic, PA.Zoilo Almonte broke a 5-5 tie with an RBI double in the ninth inning to lead the RailRiders to a 6-5 victory over the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A/Toronto Blue Jays) Tuesday night at PNC Field. The win improved the RailRiders to 3-1 against Buffalo on the season and effectively snapped a two-game losing skid.

After combining for two extra base hits in its last four games, the RailRiders offense smacked 15 hits, adding five doubles in the walk-off win.

Carmen Angelini led off the home half of the third with a single and, after a double by Ramon Flores, came around to score on a Scott Sizemore single to left. Russ Canzler added the second run of the inning with a fly out to center to score Flores. The sacrifice fly marked the fourth of the year for Canzler. Adonis Garcia extended a team-best ten game hitting streak with a double in the third. The run-scoring hit plated Sizemore for the final run of the frame to push the RailRiders lead to 3-0.

Buffalo avoided the shutdown frame with two runs in the fourth. Former RailRider Dan Johnson reached on an infield hit and came around to score on a throwing error by Canzler.  The Bisons added and extra tally on a wild pitch by RailRiders starting pitcher Brian Gordon, the errant throw drew the deficit to one, 3-2.

After combining to toss 11 2/3 of one-run ball in their previous outing, Gordon and Bisons starter Ricky Romero each labored through five innings.

After back-to-back outs in the RailRider fifth, Garcia and Ronnier Mustelier added consecutive base knocks for SWB to extend the inning. Mustelier reached on an infield hit before a throwing error by Buffalo’s Steve Tolleson scored Garcia. The run extended the RailRiders advantage to 4-2.

Buffalo added three runs through the next two innings, plating a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Johnson. The Herd added two more in the sixth courtesy of a Kevin Nolan triple on a fly ball that scored Kevin Pillar. The final run for Buffalo came on a sacrifice fly by Munenori Kawasaki that brought Pillar home.

After rain threatened the conclusion to the evening, the RailRiders offense secured the victory in the ninth. Angelini and Flores each recorded outs to begin the ninth, before Sizemore laced a single up the middle. Almonte plated the winning run with a drive to right-center that scored Sizemore from first. The walk-off win was the second of the season for SWB and marked its fourth win of the one-run variety on the campaign.

The RailRiders continue their eight-game homestand on Wednesday, April 23 at 10:35 a.m. when the club hosts the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). SWB sends right-hander Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 0.00) to the hill, while the Bisons toss righty Kyle Drabrek (1-1, 7.07). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show starting at 10:05 a.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

 

OFF THE RAILS:

Adonis Garcia extended a team-best ten-game hitting streak with a double in the third.

The RailRiders manager Dave Miley (2007-Present; 574-445) tied SWB Red Barons skipper Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history.

The 15 hits by the RailRiders offense tied a season high.

Russ Canzler’s sacrifice fly to center in third moves him atop the IL in the category

All five strikeouts record by the RailRiders pitching staff were of the looking variety

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -

Unveiling the SWB All-Time Middle-Infield

Throughout the 2014 campaign, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will celebrate 25 seasons of baseball for the franchise in NEPA. A big piece of that puzzle: the step-by-step unveiling of the club’s All-Time Team leading up to the big reflective June 7 celebration. Players in each field are represented by a variety of interests, including success in SWB, Major League triumph, service time and fan favoritism. This week we unveil the middle infield positions.

ALL-TIME TEAM SHORTSTOP – JIMMY ROLLINS

The name Jimmy Rollins and Philadelphia seem to go hand-in-hand. Before Rollins made his name as a three-time All-Star and NL MVP in the City of Brotherly Love, the smooth-fielding shortstop earned his stripes here in the old Lackawanna County Stadium. With that said, Rollins easily earns the distinction as the franchise’s All-Time shortstop. Appearing in 137 contests through parts of the 1999 and 2000 campaigns, Rollins hit a modest .269 with the Red Barons. While baseball is a numbers-driven game, they are not always indicative of a player’s skillset. Rollins is still an exceptional talent because he has done more in his fair share in parts of 15 big league seasons to earn the award. Rollins was a member of the World Series championship team in 2008, the National League MVP winner in 2007, and has made three All-Star appearances. Baseball is all about possessing the ability to make adjustment and during Rollins’ time in SWB, he had the ability to do just that. It has not always been easy for Rollins and, at one point in 2000, he was passed up for a spot on the U.S. Olympic baseball team. The struggles were apparent early, as Rollins hit just .134 at the end of April in first full Triple-A season.

“I wouldn’t say Jimmy was overmatched when I first saw him, but he’s made a lot of improvement, from his preparation before the game to what he’s done on the field,” former Red Baron teammate Gene Schall told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000. After hitting just .234 through the season’s first two months, Rollins found his stride, batting .276 for the month of July with 23 doubles and 10 triples. His final numbers in NEPA would see him finish with 29 doubles and 12 home runs. His 11 triples led the 2000 incarnation of the Red Barons. At the end of that campaign, Rollins earned a call-up to the Phillies. He tripled in a two-hit debut against the Marlins.  The next year, he was an N.L. All-Star and he never looked back.

ALL-TIME TEAM SECOND BASEMAN – CHASE UTLEY

In Major League Baseball, successful franchises are often determined by their consistency. The ability to regularly finish above the break-even point is no easy assignment. What often sets a club apart from other teams is a nucleus of experienced and talented players that are brought along through the team’s farm system. The trick is to not rush the young prospect, but to allow him to develop and work through his deficiencies in the minor leagues.  In a runaway manner, Chase Utley takes the cake as the team’s All-Time second baseman. With Major League success that rivals his middle-infield mate, the now 35-year-old is still highly regarded as one of the best second basemen in the National League. Utley has spent a total of 272 games at the Triple-A ranks), hitting .291. A second baseman with a lot of pop, he led SWB in home runs in back-to-back years in 2002 (17) and 2003 (18). Utley combined to mash at total of 41 long balls during parts of three stints in NEPA.  Utley’s home run total still ranks him in the top 10 in the franchise’s record book, while he also remains in the top 10 in RBI (172), hit by pitches (31), extra-base hits (118), and slugging percentage (.496). Since his promotion in 2003 to Philadelphia, Utley has been a mainstay on the Phillies roster. In 12 big league seasons, Utley has combined for a slash line of .289/.375/.500 as of April 17, while proving he is one of the most potent second basemen in the league, hitting 220 home runs for his career as of the same date. Utley received All-Star nods from 2006-2010, while also earning the Silver Slugger award from 2006-09. His career 59.1 wins above replacement makes him one of the top 200 most valuable players in major league history according to Baseball-Reference.com. After struggling defensively during his time with the Red Barons (46 errors), Utley cleaned up his defensive metrics. Since 2005 he has ranked in the top 10 of the national league in defensive WAR, making him one of the most valuable middle infielders in the game.

So there you have it, Jimmy Rollins at short and Chase Utley at second, combining to form one of the most dynamic middle-infield combinations the game has ever seen. Two legends and two more pieces to the puzzle that is SWB’s All-Time Team. Make sure to check out the RailRiders’ official blog, Porcupines in Pinstripes, and the GuideRail at PNC Field for the next reveal onMonday, May 5.

Four-Run First Derails RailRiders in 4-2 Loss

Moosic, PA. – A four-run first inning proved too much to overcome Monday night as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (8-9) dropped the final game of a four-game set to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 4-2 at PNC Field.  The IronPigs sent all nine men to the plate and Chris Leroux (0-2) needed 36 pitches to work his way through the first inning in the loss. The loss moved the RailRiders to 1-3 on the current eight-game homestand and in the race for the 2014 IronRail trophy.

Leroux struggled through the first frame, yielding way to five base hits and all four scores. Clete Thomas began the attack with an infield single and came around to score on a base knock by Reid Brignac.  The next five batters then reached before Sebastian Valle plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.

Making his second start of the season, Leroux retired his final 11 batters faced before giving way to left-hander Fred Lewis in the fifth.

The RailRiders made it interesting in the home half of the fifth. After a groundout by Francisco Arcia, Adonis Garcia and Jose Pirela added back-to-back base hits. A throwing error by Lehigh Valley starter David Buchanan on Pirela’s infield hit allowed Garcia to score from first. Corban Joseph brought the contest’s final run across with a single to center to plate Pirela.

RailRiders pitchers combined to toss 12 strikeouts, holding the IronPigs offense to four base hits in the final eight frames. Leroux suffered his second loss of the season and Buchanan (2-0) received the win. Louis Garcia pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to clinch the save.

The RailRiders continue their eight-game homestand on Tuesday, April 22 at 6:35 p.m. when the club welcomes in the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). SWB sends right-hander Brian Gordon (1-1, 2.30) to the hill, while the Bisons toss left-hander Ricky Romero (0-0, 3.60). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show starting at 6:05 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

 

OFF THE RAILS:

Adonis Garcia extended a team-best nine-game hitting streak with a single in the fifth.

The RailRiders manager Dave Miley (2007-Present; 573-445) remains one win shy of tying SWB Red Barons skipper Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history.

The RailRiders offense combined for two extra-base hits in the four game series with Lehigh Valley.

SWB went a combined 6-for-30 with runners in scoring position in the four-game series

 

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! 

Jimenez Shines as ‘Pigs Roast RailRiders

 

 

Moosic, PA. On Easter Sunday the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (7-10) weren’t feeling too festive. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (8-8) collected two singles through its first eight at-bats, and IronPigs starter Cesar Jimenez faced the minimum in five shutout frames as Lehigh Valley topped the RailRiders at PNC Field, 9-4. The IronPigs combined for 15 hits and used a four-run fifth inning to take the third game of the four-game series. The loss dropped the RailRiders back to .500 and gave Lehigh Valley a 2-1 lead in the race for the IronRail trophy.

Caleb Cotham struck out five batters and retired his first seven faced before laboring through the fourth and fifth. Top Phillies prospect Maikel Franco began the fourth with a single and came around to score on a triple by Koyie Hill. The IronPigs catcher scored the final run of the inning after Steve Susdorf doubled to right.

The deficit swelled in the fifth after Lehigh Valley sent eight men to the plate. Tyler Henson began the attack with a double and, after Jose Toussen misplayed an infield fly, rounded the bases on a run-scoring extra-base hit by Franco. The double by Franco was part of a four-run fifth inning that pushed the IronPigs’ lead to six.

Lehigh Valley struck for three more runs in the seventh to thrust the game out of reach. Back-to-back singles by Clete Thomas and Franco began the inning, and later three-straight singles and a sacrifice fly by Leandro Castro combined to score the IronPigs’ final three runs for a 9-0 margin.

SWB avoided the shutout with a four-run ninth inning. Antoan Richardson and Jose Pirela added consecutive hits and came around to score on a two-run single by Zoilo Almonte. After a Russ Canzler strikeout, Adonis Garcia and Ronnier Mustelier each followed with hits of their own to plate the RailRiders’ final two runs. The RailRiders sent eight-men to plate and combined for five of their seven hits in the inning before Francisco Arica grounded out to end the game. The four-run ninth inning was not enough as Lehigh Valley claimed its second win of the series.

Cotham (0-1) was slated with his first loss of the season and Jimenez (1-0) received his first win.

The RailRiders will continue an eight-game homestand at PNC Field Monday, April 21 at 6:35 p.m. against Lehigh Valley. SWB sends right-hander Chris Leroux (0-1, 3.68) to the hill, while the IronPIgs right-hander David Buchanan (1-0, 2.65) gets the nod. John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show starting at 6:05 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

 

OFF THE RAILS:

Adonis Garcia extended a team-best eight-game hitting streak with a single in the ninth

The RailRiders manager Dave Miley (2007-Present; 573-444) remains one win shy of tying SWB Red Barons skipper Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history.

Francisco Arcia was the only RailRider hitter to reach base twice

 

 

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! 

4-20 vs Lehigh Valley

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Bruce Billings (3-1) tossed seven strong innings and the RailRiders took advantage of some timely miscues Saturday night at PNC Field to top the IronPigs, 4-3. Half of the RailRiders’ eight hits came on the infield including three in a pivotal three-run sixth-inning rally.

 

TURN THE BEAT AROUND: Since starting the season 0-for-13, Adonis Garcia has become a consistent cog in SWB’s lineup. He has amassed an early team-best seven-game hit streak and enters today with 11 hits in his last 27 at-bats (.407) including four knocks last night. Zoilo Almonte has similarly flipped the script. The repeating outfielder began the year 2-for-21 (.095) with eight strikeouts while grounding into three double plays. Since that slow start, he has gone 12-for-32 (.375) with each of his team-best three home runs.

 

CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS: Manager Dave Miley will be formally inducted into the IL’s Hall of Fame on June 7. But before then, he has another career milestone to notch. Miley entered today one win short of tying and two wins short of passing SWB Red Barons manager Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history. Below is a year-by-year breakdown of Miley’s success with NEPA’s team.

 

DAVE MILEY – SWB MANAGERIAL RECORD

2007: 84-59          2008: 88-56          2009: 81-60          2010: 87-56

2011: 73-69          2012: 84-60          2013: 68-76          2014: 8-7

TOTAL: 573-443 (.564)

 

IRONRAIL TROPHY: On June 13 of last year, the RailRiders and IronPigs announced the creation of the “IronRail Trophy”. The 16-game series between the RailRiders and IronPigs decides the annual winner. The stakes have the losing team’s GM singing in a fat lady costume on the winner’s video board after home wins in the series and the heavy hardware itself. The trophy is held by the previous year’s winning team, displayed for all to see. The 2013 series was truly an 8-8 draw, but per the rules, the winner of the last game won the tiebreaker. By taking a 3-2 game on Aug. 31 in Allentown, the RailRiders claimed the prize. SWB owns a 57-41 lead in the all-time series dating back to Lehigh Valley’s inaugural 2008 season. Lehigh Valley has only won a season series against SWB once, and did so by the slimmest of margins when it went 9-7 against NEPA’s team in 2010.

 

DESIGNATED DIFFICULTIES: Corban Joseph played the DH role for the second time in as many days last night and went 0-for-3 with a walk. He is one eight different RailRiders that have seen time as the designated hitter, a role that has not produced well. The octet has combined to hit .098 (5-for-51) with just two extra-base hits, both doubles, and 13 strikeouts.

 

OFF THE RAILS: Since starting the season 3-5, SWB has won five of its last seven…Last night marked the team’s first triumph when allowing the game’s first run after starting 0-5 in such affairs…A win today would lift SWB to two games over .500 for the first time since it was 21-19 after a May 17 extra-inning win at Toledo last season…Earlier today, the New York Yankees recalled right-hander Preston Claiborne from SWB…A mainstay for Joe Girardi‘s team in 2013, Claiborne had tossed five times for this year’s SWB squad, going 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA (6IP, 7H, 2R, 1ER, 5BB, 7K)…Other moves for SWB had right-handers Graham Stoneburner and Robert Coello join the club from Short Season-A Staten Island (NYP)…Bruce Billings is the only RailRider to throw seven innings or more in a start this season, and has turned the trick in each of his last two nods…Last night, he survived a 31-pitch second inning to give his bullpen a much-needed rest after six hurlers were used in Friday’s 11-inning series opener…Billings, who ranked second in the PCL last season with 13 wins, entered today tied for the second-most wins in all of MiLB.

IronPigs Feast in Extra-Inning Win

 

Moosic, PA. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (7-7) stranded 12 runners and combined for nine hits in a 5-2 extra-inning loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (6-9) Friday night at PNC Field. The loss dropped the club to 0-1 in the race for the IronRail trophy.

The game began on a positive note for SWB. The RailRiders plated the first run on a Lehigh Valley miscue Ramon Flores reached on a walk and, with two out in the inning, Jose Pirela struck a fly that IronPIgs right fielder Clete Thomas misplayed, allowing Flores to hustle around the bases and score.

Alfredo Aceves, making his first start of the season, didn’t disappoint. The long-time veteran tossed five scoreless innings, racking up five strikeouts. Aceves’ counterpart, Barry Enright, was equally as impressive. Enright twirled six and allowed one unearned run, needing 92 pitches to work his way through the RailRider order.

After Aceves departed, the IronPigs offense found its punch. Shane Greene came on in relief and allowed two base hits, the first a leadoff double to Thomas. After a strikeout by Jim Murphy and a groundball to second by Koyie Hill moved Thomas to third. Reid Brignac plated the IronPigs’ first run on a double to right.

After a scoreless RailRider sixth, the IronPigs took the lead in the seventh. Right-hander Preston Claibornebecame the third RailRider pitcher to make an appearance. Claiborne labored, Steve Susdorf led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ronny Cedeno. Susdorf scored after Thomas laced a line drive to right. Flores did his best to keep the deficit at one, firing a bullet to the plate to nail Troy Hanzawa on the same play. The outfield assist marked the second of the campaign for Flores.

Not to be outdone, SWB avoided the shutdown inning with a run of its own in the home half. After a groundout by Flores began the inning, Pirela added his second base hit on a fly to ball left. Zoilo Almonte, after clubbing two home runs the day before, slapped a single by the glove of Hanzawa to move Pirela to third. The RailRiders evened the game 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Russ Canzler.

In the eleventh, the wheels came off for Yoshinori Tateyama. With one out and bruised batter, followed by a pair of singles, one of the bunt variety, led to the first of three runs on the inning. The deficit that proved too much to overcome as the RailRiders fell, 5-2 in 11 innings.

Tateyama (0-1) suffered the loss, while Luis Garcia (1-0) was awarded the win. Seth Rosin (1) received the save.

The RailRiders will continue an eight-game homestand at PNC Field Saturday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. against Lehigh Valley. SWB sends right-hander Bruce Billings (2-1, 2.81) to the hill, while the IronPIgs toss right-hander Sean O’Sullivan (0-1, 6.30) gets the nod. John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. The radio pregame show starts at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

All nine RailRiders hits were singles.

The RailRiders were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Adonis Garcia went 4-for-5.

Jose Pirela and Garcia combined for six of SWB’s nine hits

SWB Anniversary Team: Corner Infield

Throughout the 2014 campaign, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will celebrate 25 seasons of baseball for the franchise in NEPA.  A big piece of that puzzle – the step-by-step unveiling of the club’s All-Time team leading up to the big reflective June 7 celebration. Players in each field are represented by a variety of interests, including success in SWB, Major League triumph, service time and, of course, fan favoritism. This week we examine the corner infield positions.

ALL-TIME TEAM FIRST BASEMAN – JON ZUBER

Often called Mr. Red Baron, Jon Zuber might not be the most decorated SWB product, but he is emphatically one of the most beloved players to pass through the region.  After a month-long tournament style challenge hosted by the RailRiders in the offseason, the left-handed hitting Zuber reigned supreme in the Red Baron bracket challenge, bulldozing his way in upset fashion through Phillies cornerstone Ryan Howard, local connection Andy Ashby, world bleeping champion Chase Utley and a former IL MVP in the Flyin’ Hawaiian himself, Shane Victorino, in the championship round.  Maybe UConn and Kentucky snuck a peek at that tournament before making their own unprecedented run – Zuber was the 14th-seed in the 16-name field.  But while the committee positioned Zuber in the bracket’s lower tier, SWB’s faithful fans made their feelings boisterously known. Jon Zuber simply could not be ignored.

Through parts of five seasons (1995-99), Zuber called SWB his summer home. The longtime minor leaguer appeared in 554 games for SWB, 291 of which were spent manning the first base bag while donning the Red Barons’ uni. Zuber consistently made a conscious effort to represent the organization and region to the best of his ability. “I enjoy this place because the people support me tremendously,” he told Keith Groller of The Morning Call before his final Red Barons Opening Day in 1999. “I try to go out and play as hard as I can for them. I’m flattered that people think so highly of me. It’s nice to feel appreciated.” The former Cal Bear had his cups of coffee with Philadelphia, splitting time between parts of the 1996 and 1998 crusades between SWB and Veterans Stadium. Zuber hit a career .250 over 68 big league games and 136 at-bats. His first AB came on April 19, 1996 when the first baseman’s long-awaited odyssey through baseball’s back roads finally came to fruition as a pinch hitter for Phillies starting pitcher Rick Hunter.  After nearly 1,600 professional at-bats, our own Jon Zuber’s dream was a reality – he was a Major Leaguer.

The 12th-round selection’s professional career came to a close at the conclusion of the 2002 season. With baseball still in his blood, the long-time fan favorite turned to his alma mater for his baseball fix, spending time with the University of California as an assistant hitting coach from 2004-09. Zuber still holds the all-time record for most walks recorded in SWB history (317), while residing in the franchise’s top five for most singles (424), extra-base hits (166) and on base percentage (.402).

ALL-TIME TEAM THIRD BASEMAN – GREG LEGG

Only one SWB player has ever had his number retired. That man, Greg Legg, cracks the list as the franchise’s all-time third bagger. Known more as a utility presence, Legg played 473 games during his time as a Red Baron from 1989-94 with a vast majority of those games seeing him man the hot corner (172). Legg still stands in the top 10 in the SWB records books for games played, runs scored (196), hits (402), sacrifice hits (22) at-bats (1,498) and total bags (506).

After chasing a dream for 13 minor league campaigns, Legg made just 14 appearances with the Phillies before playing his last game of professional baseball with SWB at the age of 34. Much like Zuber, Legg continues to chase his life-long journey of reaching the show, this time as a manager. After leading the Low-A Lakewood Blue Claws in their inaugural campaign, Legg has been bumped back up from hitting coach to skipper with the Phillies’ South Atlantic League affiliate for his 32nd season within the Phillies organization in 2014.  Still a presence in the community, Legg annually hosts a fundraising dinner to provide NEPA high school baseball players with college scholarship funds. This past season that dinner was held at PNC Field.

So there you have it, Jon Zuber at first and Greg Legg at third.  Two legends and two more pieces to the puzzle that is SWB’s All-Time Team. Make sure to check out the RailRiders’ official blog, Porcupines in Pinstripes, and the GuideRail at PNC Field for the next reveal Thursday, April 18.

Almonte’s Two-Home-Run Day Propels RailRiders to Sweep

Buffalo, N.Y. The Buffalo Bisons (7-5) may have derailed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (7-6) Wednesday night, but in Thursday’s doubleheader, SWB stayed on track. Brian Gordon (1-1, 2.30) and Chase Whitley (1-1, 3.72) were sharp, combining to allow three base hits throughout the two games. The RailRiders offense supplied the thunder in a four-home-run contest, with two courtesy ofZoilo Almonte. The two different tales added up to a doubleheader sweep, as the RailRiders claimed game one,2-1, before finishing off the twinbill with a 7-2 win.

A night after combining for 24 base hits, the RailRiders and Bisons flipped the script in the first game. With veterans Gordon and Ricky Romero (0-0, 3.60) toeing the slab, runs proved scarce.

Gordon twirled 5.2 innings, giving up his first base hit in the fifth on a ground ball to left. While Romero’s lone blemish occurred in the RailRiders third.

SWB set the tone for the day early. Antoan Richardson led the third off with a walk. Carmen Angelini dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved Richardson to second, and the centerfielder then took third on a stolen base. Jose Pirela recorded his first RBI of the season, knocking a base hit to left to plate Richardson. The run gave the RailRiders the early lead, 1-0.

Gordon worked around four walks, including a leadoff free passes to begin the second and third. Gordon departed in the sixth in favor of Matt Daley. The RailRiders’ closer stranded an inherited runner by finishing the frame with a strikeout of Kevin Pillar. The strikeout by Daley was one of six Bisons to go down swinging in the final four innings.

Not to be outdone, Buffalo’s Romero was equally as good. The former Blue Jay tossed six innings, allowing just two base hits. After the RBI single by Pirela in the third, Romero retired 11 of his final 12 batters before exiting.

The Herd’s offense awoke in the seventh. Nolan added his second hit with a double to left. With Nolan on second, Chris Getz brought around the tying run on a single up the middle. The two hits in the inning doubled the Herd’s offensive output in the previous six innings.

After Daley stranded the winning run in the top of the seventh, right-hander Danny Burawa (2-0) began the eighth only find his own self-made troubles. Burawa worked out of a jam, after walking back-to-back batters to begin the inning. He then induced consecutive fly-ball outs by Matt Tuiasosopo and Pillar before striking out Ricardo Nanita to end the threat.

SWB broke the 1-1 deadlock with a run in the ninth. Ronnier Mustelier led off with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Austin Romine moved Mustelier to second, Angelini delivered on an RBI single up the middle for what proved to be the game-winning run.

Burawa earned the win, while Austin Bibens-Dirkx (0-1) was slated with a loss.

The RailRiders offense found its rhythm in game two, striking 13 base hits and four home runs. Flores singled to open the game. Kyle Drabek (1-1, 7.07) tried back-to-back pickoff attempts before the second try skipped away from first baseman, Jared Goedert. The throwing error by Drabek allowed Flores to move to third. Flores would eventually come around to score after a double by Pirela.

Corban Joseph and Almo­­nte each added solo blasts to begin the second and third. After Almonte’s homerun in the third, Garcia followed with a double and scored on a single to left by Joseph. The RailRiders padded the lead with a home run in the fourth by Pirela, and Richardson added an RBI single to score Joseph in the fifth.

Whitley followed the template set by Gordon, tossing five strong innings. The five shutout frames by Whitley set the tone for the RailRiders relievers. Buffalo struggled offensively for much of the second tilt, scratching across single runs in the sixth and seventh.

The day was essentially done for Buffalo after Almonte added his second home run of the day, a blast to right field at the start of the seventhto cement the game. The lead proved to be too much to overcome for Buffalo as the RailRiders claimed the 7-2 triumph. The doubleheader sweep gave SWB its first road series win of the year.

The RailRiders return home for the first of an eight-game homestand at PNC Field Friday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. SWB’s starter is TBA, while the IronPigs will toss right-hander Barry Enright (0-1, 6.52).John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV, while Jim Riley fills in on radio. The radio pregame show starts at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.

OFF THE RAILS:

Zoilo Almonte added the RailRiders first multi-homerun game of the season.

SWB combined for six extra-base hits in game two after not hitting one in the first game.

The top three hitters in the RailRiders offense combined for three home runs and a double in game two.

4-17-14 Game Notes at Buffalo

GAME NOTES at Buffalo 4-17

 

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Marcus Stroman held SWB’s offense in check while his offense pounded out eight runs on 13 hits as the RailRiders dropped last night’s series opener in Buffalo, 8-2. The RailRiders’ allowed a season-high run total and tied for their most lopsided loss thus far.

MOVING ON UP: Both of SWB’s recent losses to promotion, catcher John Ryan Murphy and infielder Scott Sizemore,got time in yesterday’s doubleheader sweep of the Cubs. Sizemore started both games at third base, while Murphy got the nod in the nightcap behind the plate. In game two, Sizemore had two hits and drove in one of the Yankees’ two scores in the 2-0 triumph. Murphy had a hit and caught Anthony Rizzo trying to steal second with a throw to the covering Derek Jeter.

IT FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: With Sizemore in the bigs and Zelous Wheeler on the SWB DL, Adonis Garcia got the start at third base last night. On his still young stateside career, Garcia had only started on the infield once – a 2013 nod at second base in game two of a July 23 doubleheader versus Toledo. The balance of his career had come mostly in the outfield with a sprinkling of DH time. He started his Cuban National Series tenure at multiple infield positions, including third base, before his defection, but has played mostly outfield since including his initial time in Venezuela. Last night, in his first game action since hitting a homer in SWB’s home opener last Thursday, he played an error-free game and drove in the RailRiders’ first run with an eighth-inning single for the team’s only RBI.

SWING AND A MISS: Stroman whiffed nine over 5.1 innings as Buffalo amassed a dozen strikeouts in total. It made for the most whiffs by SWB as a team on the young year and the best 2014 showing by an individual hurler against NEPA’s squad. Stroman (1-1) secured the first Triple-A triumph of his blossoming career.

TOUGH TIME: SWB starter Chris Leroux walked the first man he faced in his first outing of the season. That man, Chris Getz, later came around to score. Ten men came to the dish in a four-run third that chased Leroux after allowing five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings. It made for Leroux’s first stateside start since Aug. 27, 2012 while with Indianapolis – a win versus Columbus. He was 4-0 in seven starts that season with a 3.00 ERA.

ROAD WOES: SWB has not won consecutive road games since taking the first three at Louisville from July 26-28 last season. It has gone 8-18 (.308) away from PNC Field since that three-win spurt in the Bluegrass State. That includes three straight road losses from a sweep defeat at the hands of Rochester from April 8-9. That series sported Rochester’s first doubleheader sweep win since May 5, 2012 against Buffalo. The Red Wings completed a three-game sweep for the first time since dusting off Lehigh Valley in 2008 and posted their first three-game sweep of the New York Yankees’ top farm team since 2004.

CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS: Manager Dave Miley will be formally inducted into the IL’s Hall of Fame on June 7. But before then, he has another career milestone to notch. Miley enters today four wins short of tying and five wins short of passing SWB Red Barons manager Marc Bombard (1997-2004; 574-502) for the all-time wins lead in franchise history. Below is a year-by-year breakdown of Miley’s success with NEPA’s team.

DAVE MILEY – SWB MANAGERIAL RECORD

2007: 84-59          2008: 88-56          2009: 81-60          2010: 87-56

2011: 73-69          2012: 84-60          2013: 68-76          2014: 5-6

 

TOTAL: 570-442

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