Neal Homers as Bats Top RailRiders 8-5
Moosic, Pa. – SWB alumnus Thomas Neal capped a five-run fourth inning with a three-run home run and Donald Lutz collected three hits and doubled in an 8-5 loss to the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) Thursday night at PNC Field. The loss to Louisville (62-64) meant a series defeat for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees), while also closing out the RailRiders’ (59-66) eight-game homestand with a 2-6 ledger.
The two team’s combined to plate five runs by way of the sacrifice fly, with the first of the five scoring on Jose Pirela’s lifted bomb to left in the third for the 1-0 lead. The advantage was short-lived, as back-to-back skied balls by Jake Elmore and Hernan Iribarren gave the Bats the 2-1 lead. Neal’s thunderous home run followed with two-on and two-out to make it 5-1 Louisville.
The two team’s exchanged runs the rest of the way, with Louisville plating tallies in the fifth and seventh inning with two more run-scoring flies by Elmore and Iribarren. A double by catcher Bryan Anderson meant the final run for Louisville in the seventh.
Facing a big deficit, the RailRiders made a charge. SWB answered Louisville’s five-run frame with a run of its own in the home fourth. With men at second and third, Carmen Angelini’s groundball RBI avoided the shutdown frame. Three more SWB runs crossed in the game’s final three frames on RBI’s by Zoilo Almonte and Taylor Dugas in the 8-5 defeat.
Zach Nuding (3-5) took the loss, firing 94 pitches across five innings. Nuding was tagged for three in the short outing, while issuing three walks and a home run. Right-hander Josh Smith (10-5) tossed for the second time against SWB, working six innings and scattering two runs in the win. Smith struck out five before handing the game to relievers Chad Rogers and Tim Crabbe for the eighth and ninth. Crabbe (2) took the save, working around a run in the ninth before getting a double play to end the game.
The RailRiders will embark on a brief four-game road trip against the Pawtucket Red Sox Friday, August 15 at 7:05 p.m. The RailRiders will toss right-handed pitcher Bryan Mitchell (3-1, 2.88) while Pawtucket spins left-hander Henry Owens (1-0, 3.09). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning 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
Thursday night’s series final against Louisville concluded the season series between the two clubs with each team claiming four victories. The RailRiders took three of four from Louisville at Louisville Slugger Field May 26-29, while the Bats returned the favor by taking three of the four contests at PNC Field. The RailRiders ended the season 15-17 against the IL West.
Thursday night’s contest marked the 2014-pitching debut for catcher Jose Gil. Gil spun a scoreless ninth inning while walking two on 15 pitches. It marked the second straight evening that a position player took to the hill for SWB, and fourth time a position player has had to throw in a game.
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