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Billings Stumbles as RailRiders Rally Falls Short

Columbus, Ohio. – Zoilo Almonte collected his team-leading 10th home run of the season and drove in a pair, but a wave of home runs by the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians led to four early tallies that proved too much in 4-3 loss Friday night at Huntington Park.  The one-run loss by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) marked the second-straight for SWB and the third consecutive loss for the RailRiders.

All four Columbus runs scored with two outs in a frame, the first three courtesy of two-out three-run tater by Audy Ciriaco in the second that leapt the Clippers out to the early 3-0 lead. Travis Banwart settled until a rhythm, spinning four scoreless frames until Antoan Richardson laced a triple to center and scored on a two-run home run by Almonte, his second in as many days. The home run by Almonte brought the game to within one at 3-2.

A Tyler Holt homer in the fifth pushed the lead to 4-2, but the resilient RailRiders responded with a run on an infield hit by Austin Romine in the seventh that plated Zelous Wheeler to make the score 4-3.

Alfredo Aceves and Heath Bell spun three scoreless innings in relief, but five shaky frames from starter Bruce Billings (4-2) doomed the RailRiders in the loss. Banwart (4-2) picked up the win, tossing 6.2 innings and tying a single-high strikeout total with eight, while Vinnie Pestano (5) notched the save for the second-straight night.

The RailRiders continue an eight-game road trip with the second game of the odyssey occurring against the Columbus Clippers Friday, June 12 at 7:15 p.m.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sends right-hander Brian Gordon (4-5, 4.46) to the hill, while Columbus counters with righty Zach McCallister.  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 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


Zoilo Almonte homered for the second-straight evening. The RaiRiders outfielder mashed his team-leading 10th home run of the season while also collecting RBI’s 33 and 34, both good team leads. Since his return from the Big Leagues, Almonte is 14-for-40 with four home runs and 10 RBI.

Almonte’s home run marked the ninth-straight ballgame the RailRiders’ offense has clubbed a long ball, a season-best.

SWB has now lost nine-straight clashes with Columbus dating back to the 2013 campaign, with 12 of the last 19 meetings between the two clubs decided by a single run.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –


Porcupine Points 6-13-14

GAME NOTES 6-13-14

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: It was all going so well. Scott Sizemore had ignited two tough double plays and launched a home run. The RailRiders had jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Jeremy Bleich had dazzled in his Triple-A debut, allowing just one run through six. Then came the seventh. Five straight Clippers reached base, four scored (three on Bleich’s line) and the Clippers posted a 5-4 win.

SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR: The RailRiders have lost eight straight clashes with the Clippers going back to last season. However, 11 of the last 18 meetings have been decided by one run.

FALLING FROM AHEAD: For the second time in as many games, the RailRiders blew a three-run lead. The team had not lost once all season in a game that included a lead of three or more runs before these successive stumbles. The RailRiders have held a lead in 14 of their 33 losses (42%) this season.

INHERITANCE TAX: Danny Burawa allowed two inherited runners to cross and blew his first save, which also meant a loss for Bleich (0-1). Five of Burawa’s six hand-me-down me this season have eventually crossed the plate. The team’s relief corps has allowed 31 of its 78 (40%) total inherited runners to score.

CURSES, ZOILED AGAIN: Zoilo Almonte went 2-for-4 with a home run and has hit safely in 10 straight games as a RailRider. In eight games since coming back from New York, he has gone 12-for-34 (.353) with three home runs, eight RBIs and seven runs scored. Despite missing nearly a month while with the big league team, Almonte leads the squad in homers (9) and RBIs (32).

CARLOS THE CANNON: Carlos Moncrief gunned down Zoilo Almonte trying to leg out a first-inning double. The Clippers usual right fielder leads the IL with 13 outfield assists.

ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller enjoyed a 2-for-4 night with a double and a run scored. Between his time at Double-A Trenton and SWB, Roller ranks among the best both on the Yankees’ farm and in all of MiLB. His 15 home runs place him just outside of the top 10 in the minors (T-11th) and only behind the man who essentially replaced him at Trenton, Pete O’Brien. O’Brien’s 22 home runs slate him in a tie for second in the minors. Roller ranks among the farm’s best in batting average (1st, .342) and RBIs (T-2nd, 41).

BEST IN THE WEST: The RailRiders kicked off an eight-game road trip Thursday night. The journey wraps up a stretch of 24 straight games against non-divisional foes with the bulk of those contests coming against the IL West. The team is 8-9 through the first 17 games of this spurt, but 11-6 against IL West teams on the year. When SWB returns home, it begins the second half of its 144-game schedule and plunges back into IL North play against Pawtucket. Two thirds of the team’s remaining 72 contests will pit it against its Northern brothers.

OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders have homered in a season-best eight straight contests…It’s the franchise’s best run in the RailRiders era…Last year’s RailRiders led the IL with 133 homers…This year’s unit leads the IL in batting average (.275) and slugging percentage (.412)…The team’s 125 doubles (T-3rd) and 19 triples (2nd) help buoy the slugging number…Its league-low walk total (186/2.9/g) has its OBP at .336 (6th)…The RailRiders struck out 11 times on Thursday…They have struck out double-digit times in 11 games this season…Only five RailRiders have been on the team and active every day from Opening Day through today: Russ Canzler, Jim Miller, Mark Montgomery, Jose Pirela and Antoan Richardson…The team has had 52 players listed on its roster this season.

Wave of Home Runs Help Wash Away Dirty Birds

Moosic, Pa. –Armed with a battery of big league rehabbers, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) rode the wave of home runs and solid relief to a 7-4 win over the Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers) Monday night at PNC Field.

Shawn Kelley received the start and by design spun a single frame. Kelley was tagged for an infield hit in the first and did not allow a run before giving way to originally scheduled starter Joel De La Cruz in the second.

Zoilo Almonte put the RailRiders (32-31) ahead with a ground ball RBI, before Zelous Wheeler hung a crooked number in the first with a run-scoring base hit of his own.

A one-run game in the third after Toledo’s Hernan Perez tripled home Ezequiel Carrera, Scott Sizemore changed the ominous tone swiftly with an opposite-way three-run shot that made the game 6-1 in favor of the local nine. The Mud Hens climbed to within two, plating three runs against De La Cruz after a botched-ground ball led to a two-run home run by Wade Gaynor in the fifth.

Much like the recent tale of days past, the resolute RailRiders had an answer of their own, a solo homer by Austin Romine that pushed the lead to the final line of 7-4. De La Cruz (2-4) picked up the win, his first since his Triple-A debut on May 4 against the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) while SWB marched out three relievers to finish the game. Francisco Rondon, Danny Burawa and Robert Coello combined on four scoreless frames and tallied four strikeouts, while Coello (3) picked up the save. Kyle Lobsteain twirled six tough innings, allowing two home runs in the loss.

The RailRiders conclude the eight-game homestand with the final game of the series against the Toledo Mud Hens Tuesday, June 10 at 7:05 p.m.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will send right-hander Shane Greene (3-2, 6.57) to the hill while Toledo counters with righty Drew Verhagen (3-6, 4.04) 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 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


Adonis Garcia collected two base hits in his only two plate appearances. Through the first seven games of the homestand Garcia is 8-for-21 (.380) with five extra-base hits. The two-hit evening helped push his season-long average to .312, just behind teammate Jose Pirela.

Zoilo Almonte drove in his team-leading 31st RBI of the season with a groundball in the first. Almonte, who missed three-weeks of the season due to a Major League promotion, leads Adonis Garcia (27) for the most on the team.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –


RailRiders Turn the Tides to Avoid Sweep

Moosic, Pa. – Sometimes all you need to do is to pay homage to those that have come before you to regain your swagger. On 90’s night at PNC Field, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) did just that, while letting out a bit of frustration in a 12-6 demolition of the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) Friday night. SWB combined for 19 base hits, 11 of which went for extra bases to avoid the series sweep. As four different RailRiders (30-30) clubbed home runs on the evening, including two doubles and a home run by Adonis Garcia.

The thrashing began with run-scoring knocks by Garcia and Kyle Roller in the third before Zelous Wheeler plated two more runs with the RailRiders’ first big fly of the night to put SWB up 4-0. The RailRiders added runs in each of the next four frames, including solo taters by Garcia, Roller and Jose Pirela to extend the lead. The four home runs tied for the most by the RailRiders this season. Runs came in bunches as SWB pushed across two more in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Pirela and a solo home run, courtesy of Garcia. Crooked numbers followed in the sixth on RBI hits by Pirela, Garcia and Zoilo Almonte.

Eight of the nine RailRiders in the lineup reached safely as Roller and Garcia led the charge offensively combining for eight hits in 10 plate appearances. Pirela chipped in with a 3-for-3 night, including three RBI’s and three runs scored, while Wheeler and Austin Romine each hung multiple hits.

Bruce Billings (4-1) spun five innings and combined with three other SWB relievers to earn his first win since April 14, while Mike Wright (1-4) was tagged for seven hits and four home runs in his fourth loss in his last five appearances.

The RailRiders continue the eight-game homestand with the series opener against the Toledo Mud Hen (Detroit Tigers) Saturday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will send right-hander Brian Gordon (3-5, 4.73) while Toledo counters with righty Derek Hankins (2-6, 6.47) John Sadak and Aaron Berlin  have the call on MyNetwork TV while 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 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


Jose Pirela collected three more base knocks Friday night. The reigning International League hitter of the week has now reached safely in his last 13 ballgames dating back to May 24 against the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins).

Bruce Billings (4-1) picked up his first win since April 19. Billings now and co-leads the team with four wins, tying right-handed reliever Jim Miller.

Kyle Roller blasted his 14th home run of the year between the Double-A and Triple-A ranks. The home run came against his former teammate at ECU Mike Wright. Entering the day the 14th home run put Roller at No. 11 overall in the minor league ranks.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –


Five-Run Ninth Nips RailRiders in Roller Coaster Affair

Moosic, Pa. –Minor league baseball games mean more than just baseball.  Between-inning antics, promotions, and giveaways – you got it.  On Thursday night, they added rollercoaster rides to the fray. The Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) leapt out to an early 8-0 lead with all the scores coming against highly-regard starter Shane Greene. But the resolute Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) responded, battling back from the monumental deficit to take a 9-8 lead. But A four-run ninth by the Tides  proved too much to overcome in disappointing 13-9 loss Thursday night at PNC Field.

The Tides’ offense roared early, plating eight runs against RaiRiders (29-30) in the first two frames. Behind 8-0, crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth helped fuel an epic comeback. Zoilo Almonte put the RailRiders on the board with a three-run home run and two more RailRider runs crossed in the fourth on RBI base knocks by Corban Joseph and Jose Pirela.

Almonte continued the surge with a leadoff single and scored an RBI base hit from Zelous Wheeler. Russ Canzler blasted a double to plate a run before Antoan Richardson’s two-run singlepushed the rising RailRiders over the mountaintop, 9-8. Had the RailRiders won, it would have tied for the largest comeback win in franchise history with the 2000 Red Barons’ effort against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on Aug. 23 of that year.

On Thursday, the RailRiders brush with history came to a screeching halt, as the red-hot Tides’ offense plated five-run in the ninth against RailRiders’ pitching to deny SWB the win and claim the season series. Reliever Pat Venditte (1-1) wore the loss while Heath Bell (2-0) twirled two scoreless frames in the win for the Tides.

The RailRiders look avoid the sweep in the four-game series with Norfolk on Friday, June 6 at 7:05 p.m. SWB sends righty Bruce Billings (3-1, 5.02) to the hill while the Tides will counter with right-hander Mike Wright (1-3, 5.61) John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame 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


Russ Canzler made his professional pitching debut, spinning 0.2 innings to conclude the ninth. The pitching performance marked the first for NEPA’s own in 1,067 games between the Major League and minor league ranks.

Norfolk tallied five more runs in the first frame of Thursday night’s affair. In the first three games of the four-game run the Tides have sent 22 men to the plate, tallying 10 runs. For the series the Tides have scored 34 runs and collected 56 hits.

Jose Pirela collected three more base hits and an RBI Thursday night. The RailRiders usual second basemen is 53-for-138 since April 28. The .384 average during that time span is tops in the International League leading Norfolk’s Brett Wallace (3rd) by .28 points.

Russ Canzler extended a season’s-best hitting streak to 10 games with a double in fifth. During the 10-game run Canzler is 16-for-40 with six extra-base hits and eight RBI.

-        SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –



Romine Leads Hot-Hitting RailRiders Past Tribe

Indianapolis, Ind. – In downtown Indianapolis, the hot-hitting journey for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) continued Saturday night at Victory Field in a 7-3 triumph over the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates). The league’s top offense hung crooked numbers in successive innings paced by an 11-hit attack. Austin Romine led the way with three base knocks and RailRiders’ (28-26) starter Shane Greene spun five shutout innings before departing in the seventh in a well-rounded win.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, the SWB bats tagged Indianapolis starter Adam Wilk for four hits in the visiting second. Zelous Wheeler reached on an infield hit and advanced to third on a double down the left-field line by Russ Canzler. Francisco Arcia and Romine put the RailRiders on the board with back-to-back RBI base hits for the 2-0 lead.

Indianapolis (33-22) added a tally in the home sixth before the RailRiders responded with two runs in the visiting seventh. Arcia and Romine connected on consecutive base knocks followed by an intentional walk to Jose Pirela that loaded the bases for Corban Joseph. A miscue by the Tribe’s Tony Sanchez cleared the bases and extended the RailRiders lead to 4-1.

Romine closed the book on Wilk with a thunderous three-run home run in the eighth off reliever Tyler Waldron that cemented Indianapolis’ fate. Greene (3-2) won his third-straight outing while Wilk (3-5) was tagged with the loss in the 116-pitch effort.

The RailRiders continue the second leg of an eight-game road trip against the Tribe Sunday, May 31 at 1:35 p.m. The RailRiders will send right-hander Bruce Billings (3-1, 3.86) to the hill opposite Indianapolis left-hander Jeff Locke (3-1, 3.60). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame beginning at 1:05 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


SWB’s 7-3 victory over Indianapolis guaranteed a series win over the Indians. At 5-1 through the team’s first six contests, the RailRiders can do no worst than 5-3 against the Tribe.

Austin Romine went 3-for-4 including a three-run home run. His 4RBI night ties a team-high for most runs driven in

With 11 base hits Saturday night, the RailRiders’ offensive surge continued. During the club’s last six games the club has gone 88-for-241 (.365) with 25 extra-base hits.

SWB’s 7-3 win moved the RaiRiders to 17-13 in the month of May, marking the club’s best monthly total since the then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees went 22-9 in August of 2012.



- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –

Porcupine Points: May 31 at Indianapolis

Game Notes 5-31-14 at Indianapolis

NOT-SO-GREAT EIGHT: An eight-run fifth inning proved the difference as the RailRiders lost their series opener at Indianapolis on Friday night, 11-6.

ON THE OFFENSIVE: Offensive issues were had by the RailRiders as well, with 14 men stranded and a 5-for-21 showing with men in scoring position.

DOWN & UP: The RailRiders fell into a tie for fourth place in the IL North with Friday’s loss, but leapt into first in the league in team batting average at .269. The RailRiders rank fourth in slugging (.395) but have the loop’s second fewest walks (156) and stand seventh in on-base percentage (.334). The contact clip and power numbers have surged on this road trip. Through five games, the team has gone 77-for-205 (.376) with 23 extra-base hits. Last night saw the team log 13 hits including five doubles.

FA SO DE LA: Joel De La Cruz (1-3) lost for the second time in as many starts. He won his Triple-A debut at Norfolk May 4 and the team won his second start, a solid no-decision versus Durham May 9. Since then, the team has gone 1-3 in his last four nods despite a solid 3.74 ERA in that time. Last night he was tagged with a season-worst-tying five runs (three earned) in a season-low four-plus frames.

INHERITANCE TAX: De La Cruz departed a 3-3 draw only to see two of his hand-me-down men cross during Diego Moreno‘s roughest outing as a RailRider. The former Pirates farmhand had not allowed an inherited runner to cross since he was in the Pittsburgh chain with Advanced-A Bradenton on Aug. 21, 2011 – a span of 33 appearances. On the season, the RailRiders’ bullpen has allowed 24 of 62 inherited runners (39%) to eventually cross. Moreno was charged with six runs, five hits and two walks on his own line. He threw 30 pitches (17 strikes) in one inning as his ERA rose from 2.76 to 5.71.

LONG TIME, FIRST TIME: At 3:40, last night was SWB’s longest nine-inning game since a June 9, 2012 loss to Louisville in Rochester also took 3:40. Starter Dellin Betances took the loss in the 9-5 game. Corban Joseph and Doug Bernier knocked in two runs apiece. SWB’s has not played a longer nine-inning game since taking 3:41 to win at Indianapolis in 2010, 10-7. The game started on May 20, endured a 1:50 delay and was suspended before its May 21 conclusion. The franchise’s all-time wins leader, Kei Igawa (33), got the win in relief of an ineffective Ivan Nova. Jonathan Albaladejo earned the 13th of his franchise record 43 saves that season. He also owns the career saves mark at 54.

PACK ‘EM IN: Last night’s crowd was also the largest to see the RailRiders play this season. Victory Field boasted a paid attendance of 11,744, surpassing the 10,011 that saw the RailRiders face the Bulls in Durham on April 26.

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Joseph singled twice, walked once and drove in a run. He did not play for more than a week before starting in Tuesday’s win at Louisville. He has played in each of the team’s last four games, going 7-for-14 with two extra-base hits and six RBIs.

UNDER MY PIRELA: Jose Pirela went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a walk and a run scored. The usual second baseman has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games. In that time, he has posted slashes of .411/.476/.518/.994. That makes for the fourth-best average in Triple-A over that time. His .306 average ranks sixth in the IL and ties him with Charleston’s Aaron Judge for fifth on the Yankees’ farm.

IT’S GONNA BE MAY: At 16-13 in May, the RailRiders have locked up their first winning month since July of last season (16-13). One more win would mean the franchise’s best month since a 22-9 August in 2012.

OFF THE RAILS: Kyle Roller leads the Yankees’ farm with his composite .338 average…With two errors last night, the RailRiders’ league-high total rose to 53…SWB ranks last in IL fielding percentage (.972)…Former New York Yankee/RailRider Cody Eppley (1-1) got the win last night for the Indians.

Eight-Run Fifth Sinks RailRiders

Indianapolis, Ind. – On a bullpen day for the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates), a 13-hit attack was not enough to overcome an eight-run fifth inning Friday night at Victory Field in an 11-6 drilling of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees). The loss marks the second-straight for the RailRiders and the first in five tries against the Tribe (33-21).

Trailing 3-0 to begin the fifth, the RailRiders (27-26) attempted to follow a trend of thunderous rallies from previous nights.  Eight batters walked to the plate in the RailRiders’ fifth, highlighted by two extra-base hits by Ramon Flores and Kyle RollerJose Pirela walked and took third on a double by Flores before Roller and Corban Joseph each delivered RBI base knocks that evened the game at 3-3.

An error by Roller on a ground ball by Robert Andino helped spark an eight-run home fifth. The first eight batters of the inning all came around to score before Diego Moreno recorded the first out on a groundball to first by Blake Davis.  A double by Jaff Decker and a base hit by Andino followed before a fly out and a ground out ended the backbreaking frame.

An SWB rally faltered late as the RailRiders plated runs in the visiting sixth, seventh and ninth on a throwing error by Davis, a run-scoring single by Antoan Richardson and a base hit with two outs in the ninth by Pirela that brought the game to its final tally of 11-6.

Joel De La Cruz (1-3) tossed four innings and faced two batters in the fifth before departing.  Jay Jackson received the spot start and spun four frames of one-run ball, while Cody Eppley (1-1) toss 1.2 innings to earn the win.

The RailRiders continue the second leg of an eight-game road trip against the tribe Saturday, May 31 at 7:05 p.m. The RailRiders will toss right-hander Shane Greene (2-2, 5.65) opposite Indianapolis left-hander Adam Wilk (3-4, 4.99). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame 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


Friday night’s 3:40 minute contest marked the longest RailRider game since a June 9, 2012 loss to Louisville in Rochester (season they played without a home) took 3:40…Starter Dellin Betances took the loss in that 9-5 game…Corban Joseph and Doug Bernier knocked in two runs apiece.

The announced attendance of 11,744 patrons was the largest announced attendance to witness a RailRiders game this season.

With a 3-for-5 night, Jose Pirela has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games.

The loss for Joel De La Cruz was his third of the season. The right-hander has not received a winning decision since making his Triple-A debut on May 5 against the Norfolk Tides.

The eight-run bottom of the fifth is the most tallies allowed by the RailRiders in a single frame this year. The previous high was six when Norfolk accomplished the feat on May 3.

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –


Wheeler’s Grand Slam Lifts RailRiders Over Bats

Louisville, KY. – On a night that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (27-24) needed a break, it came in the form of a 56-minute rain delay. The RailRiders collected 15 base hits base and loaded the bases in four different frames, but it took a grand slam by Zelous Wheeler to sink the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) 6-5 Wednesday night at Louisville Slugger Field. The RailRiders moves the RailRiders to 6-0 against the International League West division, while also extending a run of six-straight road victories.

Trailing 5-0 after the Bats hung crooked numbers in the fifth and seventh, the RailRiders stormed back, tallying six unanswered runs. With the bases loaded in the visiting eighth, Russ Canzler put the RailRiders on the board with a two-run single that cut into the deficit to three, setting up Wheeler’s heroics in the ninth.

Adonis Garcia singled off Curtis Partch to open the ninth before the right-hander drilled Kyle Roller and allowed a single to Scott Sizemore that supplied the theatrics for Wheeler. Jim Miller closed out the ballgame for the RailRiders, retiring the Bats’ offensive attack with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Dean Anna collected a pair of base hits in the ballgame, going 2-for-5 to extend his hot streak, while Canzler and Joseph each added multiple base hits in the RailRiders win. Each of the nine SWB hitters added a base hit in the ballgame while Jim Miller tossed two scoreless innings and struck out five batters to pick up the win. Curtis Partch (0-1), after allowing four runs and five hits was slated with the loss.

The RailRiders will conclude the four-game run against Louisville Thursday, May 29 at 6:35 p.m. SWB sends right-hander Zach Nuding (2-2, 6.04) to the hill while the Bats will counter with former Yankee farm hand Chien-Mind Wang (4-4, 3.90). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame 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


With the win the RailRiders secured a winning month of May, extending their monthly total to 16-11.

Zelous Wheeler’s grand slam in the ninth inning was the first of his professional career and marked a RailRiders first since Melky Mesa delivered a bases-clearing tater on August 9, 2013 against the Buffalo Bisons. Wheeler’s dinger was one of three on the Yankees’ farm as Peter O’Brian (Double-A Trenton) and Eduardo De Oleo (Low-A Charleston) each added grand slam’s of their own.

SWB has tallied 32 runs and 55 base hits in the first three games of the series against the Louisville Bats to bring the club’s team average up nearly 13 points to .264

- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –


Porcupine Points: May 28 at Louisville


BLOWN AWAY: Go figure. Play some games at Louisville Slugger Field against a team nicknamed the Bats and you find your swing. The RailRiders pounded out 16 hits with seven going for extra bases in an 11-4 thumping of Louisville on Tuesday. After scoring six runs in four games on their recent 1-3 homestand, the RailRiders have tallied 26 scores on 40 hits between the road trip’s first two affairs.

FOR COMPARISON’S SAKE: The RailRiders’ 26 runs through two games on this road trip match their total from the 10 prior contests combined. The franchise had not totaled 26 runs over consecutive games since July 25 and 26 in 2011. In those games, a 15-1 win versus Syracuse was followed by an 11-2 defeat of the Bisons in Buffalo. Those SWB Yankees had 31 combined hits between the two games. No SWB team had scored 26 or more runs in back-to-back road games since at least 2004.

TRY THIS ON FOR SIZE: Scott Sizemore fell a home run short of the cycle on a 3-for-6 night. After going 1-for-20 (.050) on the Lehigh Valley/Pawtucket road trip from May 13-20, Sizemore has gone 10-for-25 (.400).

OFF THE SCHNEID: Dean Anna snapped an 0-for-23 funk with hits in each of his last three at-bats. In his first game in over a week, Corban Joseph slammed two extra-base hits and drove in four runs. He joined current New York Yankee Zoilo Almonte as the lone RailRiders to enjoy a four-RBI game this season. Joseph last drove in four runs on Aug. 19, 2012 at Rochester. He registered a career-best five RBIs on May 30, 2010. The then-Tampa Yankee went 4-for-5 with two home runs at Bradenton. Austin Romine entered the game hitting .198 with a .274 OBP. He reached base safely four times. The catcher went 2-for-3, doubled once, walked twice (once intentionally) and scored a pair of runs.

LET’S GET HIM ON: Antoan Richardson was the lone man in the nine that failed to hit. But he reached on a walk, a bruise and a squeeze bunt/sacrifice that scored Joseph from third in the seventh. He also stole two bases to lift his season-high total to a team-best 15. He has not been caught stealing in 38 attempts since May 28, 2013 against Lehigh Valley when he was a Rochester Red Wing. Richardson ranks second in the IL in steals and fourth in OBP (.402).

HEATING UP: Jose Pirela has hit safely in 10 of 11, going 19-for-46 (.413). More than half of that run has come on the road where he is a .326 hitter. Ramon Flores has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 and leads SWB with 26 walks and 15 doubles.

ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller blasted an opposite-way two-run homer on a two-hit night. With his Double-A time, he leads the Yankees’ farm with his composite .348 average. He also ranks second in homers (12) and is tied for third in RBIs (31).

OFF THE RAILS: The RailRiders had nearly as many extra-base hits (7) and hits with men in scoring position (6) as Louisville had in the game (8)…The RailRiders have won a season-best five straight road games…SWB has gone 6-0 against IL West teams…It is two games into playing 20 of 24 against IL West squads…The RailRiders’ season-long team batting average has shot up 10 points (.255-.265) based on their 49th and 50th games of the season…Before the game, the New York Yankees announced that SWB southpaw Matt Tracy was sent to Double-A Trenton…He started for the Thunder on Tuesday and allowed one run on six hits in 6.2 innings for his fifth Double-A win at Reading…Two Yankees prospects won weekly league honors on Tuesday…Dante Bichette, Jr. was named the Florida State League Hitter of the Week with Adv.-A Tampa…He hit .357/.406/.714 on a 10-for-28 week with three home runs and 13 RBIs…Trenton’s Jeremy Bleich claimed Eastern League Pitcher of the Week accolades…The 2008 first-round pick out of Stanford struck out a career-best 10 against Richmond in seven scoreless innings…Louisville fell to 6-16 (.273) against the IL North…The Bats are 18-11 (.621) against teams in the West and South…Position player Kristopher Negron played shortstop and center field in the game for the Bats before making his pro pitching debut with a scoreless ninth inning.


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