Roller, RailRiders Notch TwinBill Split
Moosic, PA. – Playing their second doubleheader in five days, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) fought to a twinbill split with the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) Wednesday night at PNC Field. Game one went the way of Toronto’s top satellite; Brett Wallace and Dan Johnson combined to drive in four runs in a five-run seventh inning that resulted in a 6-5 loss. Game two went the way of the local nine, as the RailRiders (66-73) built a big six-run lead en route to an 8-3 victory. The win moved the RailRiders to 2-2-6 on doubleheaders this season.
The RailRiders seemed poised for a decisive 5-1 win in the initial contest, only to have it snatched away by an old friend. With reliever Tyler Webb on the bump, Buffalo’s (74-64) offense came alive in a five-run seventh inning to leapfrog the RailRiders. Jonathan Diaz sparked the frame with a lead off walk. Successive knocks by Dalton Pompey and Anthony Gose succeeded to load the bases, Cole Gillespie scored the innings first tally with a sacrifice fly to center. The recently received Wallace tied the game with a majestic three-run home to center and Johnson’s team-leading 18th bomb of the year gave Buffalo the lead for good, 6-5.
Matt Tracy started the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The former Ole Miss Rebel spun 5.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits. Tracy walked four and struck out one but did not factor into the decision. Webb took the blown save, recording just two outs and allowing four runs on three hits and Edgmer Escalona (2-3) was slated with the loss. Raul Valdes notched the win, allowing five runs over six frames. Bobby Korecky (21) slammed the door in the ninth for the save.
Game two was a similar story with a different ending. Just like game one, the RailRiders took the initial lead, but this time it held. Kyle Roller went a perfect 3-for-3, falling a triple shy of the cycle. His second base hit of the night resulted in a two run third, a double that sliced into the left-field corner. Four more runs crossed in the RailRiders’ fourth courtesy of RBI knocks by Carmen Angelini and Jose Pirela to push the lead to 6-0.
Starter Nick Turley wavered in the fifth as a sea of run-scoring singles by Gose, Gillespie and Wallace closed the gap to 6-3. Roller’s 16th home run of the campaign meant a 7-3 lead, and Angelini’s second RBI of the evening put the nail in the coffin, 8-3.
Turley (4-3) claimed his third win in four tries, twirling five efficient innings and scattering three runs before departing in favor of reliever Nick Rumbelow. Rumbelow bridged the gap from the sixth on to finish off the game. Scott Copeland (2-1) lasted just four innings and was tagged for four six runs on six hits and struck out one in the loss.
The RailRiders conclude the brief three-game homestand with the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) Thursday, August 28 at 7:05 p.m. The RailRiders will toss the right-handed pitcher Chris Leroux (6-3, 3.67) while the Bisons spin the right-handed Kendall Graveman (2-2, 1.36). Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNet TV while longtime area voice Jim Riley fills in 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
The game one loss to Buffalo meant the RailRiders cannot finish the season with a .500 record. The best the club can possibly finish is 71-73. The losing record marks the first time since the 2004 and 2005 seasons that an SWB club has had back-to-back losing records.
Kyle Roller’s home run in the fifth inning marked his 16th at Triple-A and 25th between his time at Double-A and SWB. He ranks among minor league baseball’s top 25 in home runs hit this season.
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