Charlotte, N.C. – They rallied and tied it, overcoming an early three-run deficit along the way, but a two-run sixth inning went the way of the local nine in an 8-4 loss for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) Friday night at BB&T Bank Stadium. The loss to Chicago’s top satellite dropped the RailRiders to 1-5 against their IL South brethren this season.
A story that began well quickly turned sour. Zoilo Almonte doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Adonis Garcia’s single to left-center that gave the RailRiders the 1-0 lead. Starter Chris Leroux faced a batter over the minimum his first time through the lineup, striking out three in the process before it all began to unwind.
Marred by a sea of singles, Leroux allowed Charlotte to plate its first two runs in the home third. Four-straight batters reached with two outs in the frame, before Marcus Semien and Josh Phelgley delivered back-to-back base knocks to tilt the game in the Knights’ favor, 2-1. A passed ball plated another run in the home third, and Micah Johnson made the deficit three with his second base hit of the night, a drive to center that pushed the lead to 4-1.
Much the like the night that came before, the resolute RailRiders mounted a rally. SWB sent nine men to the plate in the sixth-inning, receiving successive run-scoring knocks by John Ryan Murphy, Corban Joseph and Carmen Angelini that brought the game back even at 6-6. Crooked numbers would bridge the Knights’ sixth and seventh, highlighted by Danks’ two-run dinger to right that brought the game to its final resting point of 8-4.
Jeremy Bleich (0-3) tossed an 1.1 innings and was tagged for two hand-me down runs in the loss, while former Yankee and SWB product Chen-Ming Wang (9-5) notched his first win as a Knight.
The RailRiders and Knights continue the four-game run Saturday, July 19 with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss left-hander Nik Turley (0-1, 5.82) while Charlotte counters with the righty Andre Rienzo (0-2, 4.80). John Sadak 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Charlotte’s Jordan Danks connected on his IL-leading 19th home run of the season in the 8-4 win. The home run was Danks’ fifth home run in six games against the Railriders this season and his third in the first two games of the four-game series.
Chris Leroux was tagged for four runs and six hits in the 8-4 loss to the Knights. The four-inning outing by Leroux marked his shortest appearance with the RailRiders since he went four complete a 4-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on April 21.
With the loss SWB fell to a seasons-worst 13.5 games back of first place in the IL North, while following to a season-low seven games below .500.
The RailRiders fell 1-5 against the Charlotte Knights and 7-15 against the IL South. In contrast the RailRiders have claimed have gone 3-7 against IL South opponents on the road.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
Rochester, N.Y. – It was going so well. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) had received its best outing of the season from starter Nik Turley, and Taylor Dugas delivered some timely base hits along the way. Unfortunately for SWB, Frontier Field continued to be a house of horrors, as A 2-1 lead faltered late by way of a four-run eighth inning in a 5-2 loss to the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) Saturday night at Frontier Field.
Nik Turley twirled 5.2 innings and scattered three hits in his longest outing of the season, but it wasn’t always easy. Turley labored in the home first, walking the first of his four batters to begin the inning. A ground ball by James Beresford gave Turley his first out, but a booming double by Deibinson Romero on a line drive over the head of Adonis Garcia plated Rochester’s initial run to make it 1-0.
The RailRiders struggled to solve the riddle that was Sean Gilmartin through the first three fames, failing to claim its first base hit until Rob Refsnyder’s single in the fourth. A handful a base running miscues cost the RailRiders early, but a run-scoring double by Taylor Dugas in the visiting fifth evened the tilt at 1-1.
The RailRiders offense broke through once again, this time in the visiting seventh. Austin Romine drew a leadoff and took second on a base hit to right by Dugas. A fielder’s choice erased Dugas trying to advance to second, which allowed Romine to take third. Carmen Angelini gave the RailRiders the one-run lead courtesy of a broken-bat flair over second for the 2-1 advantage.
With the lead in hand, the bullpen faltered down the stretch. Danny Burawa issued a leadoff walk that allowed the inning to spiral out of control. Burawa retired the next two batters in order before left-hander Francisco Rondon relieved him to face Brad Nelson. A wild pitch proceeded that allowed Pedro Florimon to score from third, evening the game at 2-2. A Run scoring double by Chris Rahl followed before Dan Rohfling put the game out of reach with a two-run home run that pushed the lead to its final resting point of 5-2.
Rondon was one of three RailRiders used on the night and was slated with the loss, while Ryan Pressley (1-3) spun 2.2 innings of relief in his first win of the campaign.
The RailRiders and Red Wings conclude the short two-game run Sunday, July 13 with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss right-hander Diego Moreno (2-2, 6.23) while Rochester has yet to announce a starting pitcher. John Sadak 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
The RailRiders, after claiming a series sweep at PNC Field, lost for the fourth time this season at Frontier Field. The RailRiders last win at Frontier Field came on June 19, 2012, a 10-7 win by former RailRider Dellin Betances.
SWB fell to 34-7 when leading after seven innings this season.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard!
Moosic, Pa. – A doubleheader sweep wasn’t enough. After besting their Northern nemesis with a pair of walk-off victories the night before, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) polished off a series sweep of the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) Friday night at PNC Field with a 5-1 thumping. The win concluded the RailRiders’ nine-game eight-day homestand with a 4-5 ledger.
In his first start at the Triple-A level, Jairo Heredia (1-0) dazzled. The once highly touted prospect spun five innings of one-run ball en route to his first decision in five appearances with the RailRiders. Heredia faced just 21 batters over five efficient frames before leaving in favor of reliever Pat Venditte in the sixth.
The RailRiders made sure the solid start didn’t go to waste. Taylor Dugas gave the RailRiders the lead in the second, lacing a double over the head of centerfielder Eric Farris to plate the hustling Austin Romine from first. A Rochester run in the visiting third would follow, but the RailRiders pitching staff held serve, allowing just five base hits to the potent Rochester attack the rest of the way.
Crooked numbers in the third and fourth followed for SWB. Antoan Richardson and Jose Pirela reached on successive base knocks before a two-run single by Romine tilted the game back in favor of the RailRiders at 3-1. With Heredia cruising, SWB brought the game to its final resting point with a pair of runs in the fourth. Richardson ignited the inning, reaching courtesy of a one-out walk. A double by Pirela plated Richardson from first before Rob Refsnyder collected a run-scoring single that made lead an insurmountable 5-1.
Venditte worked around a bases loaded jam in the sixth before striking out Wilkin Ramirez and inducing consecutive fly balls to Josmil Pinto and Daniel Ortiz to wiggle out of the inning. A base hit by Brad Nelson in the eighth chased Venditte in favor of Edgmer Escalona who worked two perfect frames to finish off the Red Wings and secure the series sweep. Mark Hamburger (1-1) worked four innings and was tagged for all five runs in the loss for Rochester.
The RailRiders and Red Wings home-and-home series will shift to Frontier Field as the RailRiders begin their final road trip before the All-Star break Saturday, July 12. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss left-hander Nik Turley (0-1, 7.94), while Rochester counters with the lefty Sean Gilmartin (1-1, 4.44). John Sadak 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Jairo Heredia became the first active RailRiders’ starting pitcher besides Chris Leroux to claim a win since right-hander Bruce Billings marched to a 12-6 triumph over the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) on June 6 at PNC Field.
The three-game series sweep of the Rochester Red Wings marked the club’s first three-game winning streak at PNC Field since the RailRiders won five-straight from May 5-9 against the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays).
Jose Pirela went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored to raise his season-long contact clip to .324. Pirela leads the International League in hits with 116 hits. His 116 base knocks ranks fourth in all of minor league baseball and first since April 27 with 99.
Edgmer Escalona spun two perfect innings of relief to secure the RaiLRiders 5-1 victory. In four appearances with SWB the right-hander has yet to allow a run in 10.2 innings since being signed on July 2.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Moosic, Pa. – One wasn’t enough. Not against a team in the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) that had claimed 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two squads. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) let out a cry of frustration in against their Northern Brethren mattered Thursday night at PNC Field by claiming two walk-off victories in Thursday’s doubleheader. Adonis Garcia played the hero in both stories. First plating the game-winning run in the initial 5-4 tilt, before he blistered a walk-off home run in the 1-0 win in game two.
The RailRiders never knew a deficit in the first fight. Rob Refsnyder set the tone early, launching a two-run blast in the home first that gave the RailRiders the initial advantage of 2-0. Bruce Billings worked a scoreless first and labored through the second. A walk by Josmil Pinto kick-started the frame and a run-scoring base hit by Eric Farris followed that gave Rochester its first run. Billings loaded the bases without an out in the second and exchanged a double play ball by Chris Rahl for a run that evened the game 2-2 in the second.
Jose Pirela regained the lead with a solo home run in the fifth and SWB received some needed insurance when starter Scott Diamond issued a bases loaded walk to Dan Fiorito that put the RailRiders up 4-2. The lead wouldn’t last, as a single by Pedro Florimon and a walk to Brad Nelson chased Billings in the seventh. Diego Moreno entered and promptly issued back-to-back run-scoring knocks to Doug Bernier and James Beresford that brought the game to 4-4.
With the stage set, Garcia delivered. First working a leadoff walk in the seventh before taking second on a sacrifice bunt. A base hit by John Ryan Murphy moved him to third and a weakly- hit bouncing ball by Kyle Roller plated Garcia for the winning run and the 5-4 victory.
Despite allowing two inherited runners to cross in the seventh, Moreno (2-2) notched the win while reliever Lester Oliveros (0-1) took the loss.
Game two was a different story as battle of bullpen carried their respective teams through the sixth in a pitcher’s duel. Lefty Jeremy Bleich received the starting nod, spinning three scoreless frames before handing the baton off to right-hander Joel De La Cruz in the fourth. The starter-turned reliever allowed three-hits over four innings to carry a scoreless ballgame into the home seventh.
Rochester’s A. J. Achter issued a base hit to Garcia in the fourth and proceeded to retire his next nine batters in a row before allowing Garcia’s deciding bomb in the seventh that secured the doubleheader sweep for SWB. Achter (2-3) earned the tough-luck decision while De La Cruz (3-5) notched the win.
The RailRiders and Red Wings will wrap up the homestand Friday, July 11 with the final game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss right-hander Jairo Heredia (0-0, 10.61), while Rochester counters with the righty Mark Hamburger (1-0, 1.13). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV while longtime voice Jim Riley fills in on radio. The pregame show begins at 5:05 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Rob Refsnyder blistered his sixth home run at Triple-A in the first inning against lefty Scott Diamond. The six dingers for Refsnyder since June 15 are tied for the most in the circuit during that span. Since the month of July Refsnyder has hit three home runs in 11 games (.220/.319/. 463).
The doubleheader split marked the RailRiders’ first since the club swept a twinbill against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) on April 17, 2014.
The RailRiders claimed its first series win against the Rochester Red Wings since July 8-10, 2013. The club had lost 10 of the previous 11 meetings between to two longtime foes.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Moosic, Pa. – A day of hope and optimism faded quickly as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) and Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) fought to a doubleheader split Wednesday afternoon at PNC Field. The RailRiders (43-50) took the initial contest 7-2 before dropping the second game of the twinbill by a final ledger of 5-1. The doubleheader split gave the Knights (38-56) the four-game series at 3-1.
Starter Chris Leroux was masterful in game No. 1, giving a RailRiders squad in desperate need of innings a complete game effort. Leroux authored six shutout frames before Andy Wilkins and Miguel Gonzales belted solo homers in the seventh for Charlotte’s two lone runs. Leroux (2-2) scattered eight hits in the complete game win and issued five strikeouts in his second straight triumph for SWB.
The offense backed its starter early, aiding Leroux with an initial run courtesy of a knock by Yangervis Solarte in the third. A crooked number followed in fourth by way of a bunt single by Antoan Richardson that plated Austin Romine, before a wild pitch by Erik Johnson allowed Corban Joseph to score from third, extending the RailRiders’ advantage to 3-0.
A scoreless fifth proceeded before SWB tagged Johnson (2-6) for four runs in home sixth to slate the right-hander with the loss. Richardson drove the bus, plating two runs in the seventh with a double before Jose Pirela and Solarte followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles that swelled SWB’s lead to 7-0. Richardson collected three RBI on the evening in the win.
Game two followed a similar script, with a different ending. Left-hander Matt Tracy spun four scoreless frames before a two-run triple by Marcus Semien chased him from the game. The two-run advantage proved to be enough as Knights’ starter Dylan Axelrod twirled five inning of one-run baseball before departing in line for the win after the fifth. Reliever Taylor Thompson finished off the contest by tossing two scoreless frames. Only two of the five runs scored in the second game against the RailRiders’ pitching staff counted as earned runs.
The RailRiders will host its second doubleheader in as many days Thursday, July 10 when SWB welcomes the Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) to PNC Field for a twinbill. The first game begins at 5:35 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss right-hander Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.31), while Rochester counters with lefty Scott Diamond (4-7, 6.45). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV while longtime voice Jim Riley fills in on radio. The pregame show begins at 5:05 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Chris Leroux’s complete game effort marked the first for his career. Leroux also became the first RailRiders starter in five days to spin at least five frames. The last RailRiders starter to twirl at least five frames not named Leroux: Shane Greene on June 27 when the right-hander lasted seven innings against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Antoan Richardson doubled and drove in three runs in opening game of the twinbill. The three RBI marked a season high for Richardson and the marked first time the outfielder had accomplished the feat since he drove in three-runs on April 18, 2013 against the Portland Sea Dogs (Double-A/Eastern League).
Yangervis Solarte went 4-for-7 in Wednesday’s doubleheader and drove in three runs. Since his option on July 3, the SWB infielder has hit safely in each of his first five games, including four with multiple hits. Solarte is 12-for-20 (.600) with four extra-base hits and five RBI since his option.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Moosic, Pa. – A quick two-run difference was promptly erased and a one-run lead built courtesy of a pair of well-timed home runs and a costly miscue. A 3-2 advantage refused to hold serve Saturday night at PNC Field as a four-run eighth inning, fueled by a trio of extra-base hits, reigned supreme in a 6-3 loss by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays). The loss earned the RailRiders (42-47) a disappointing series split with the Herd (46-42), while moving the RailRiders to 6-5 this season against their northern brethren.
On a bullpen day for SWB, it was Edgmer Escalona who received the nod for the RailRiders. The right-hander gave SWB three efficient frames before departing in favor of Francisco Rondon in the fourth. The lefty worked a minimum faced frame before Buffalo tagged him for two runs in the fifth. The first tally came by way of a sacrifice fly and Ryan Goins made it 2-0 with a run-scoring single to right.
Solo home runs by John Ryan Murphy and Zoilo Almonte in the fifth and sixth brought the game back to sea level at 2-2, before a wild pitch with the bases loaded by Aaron Sanchez plated the go-ahead run in the sixth for a 3-2 lead.
Throwing on back-to-back nights, Pat Venditte relieved Diego Moreno in eighth and promptly allowed his only two batters faced to reach base. Matt Daley followed suit, allowing a double by Erik Kratz that drew the game even at 3-3. A sacrifice fly plated the go-ahead run and successive doubles by Andy LaRoche and Jonathan Diaz brought the game to its final resting point at 6-3.
Venditte (2-3) did not record an out in the loss, while starter-turned-reliever Kyle Drabek (6-6) worked around a hit in two shutout frames to score the win. All-Star closer Bobby Korecky picked-up his team-leading 11th save of the year in the process.
After wrapping up the series with the Bisons, the RailRiders will open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) Sunday, July 6 at 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has yet to announce a starter, while Charlotte counters with righty Deunte Heath (5-1, 2.39). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV with longtime voice Jim Riley filling in on radio. The pregame show begins 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Zoilo Almonte clubbed his team-leading 13th home run of the season. The home run by Almonte was his fourth of the season against the Herd, the most by any RailRider against a single team this season.
Yangervis Solarte reported to SWB after a July 3 option by the New York Yankees. The RailRiders’ recently received infielder went 3-for-3 in his SWB debut with an extra-base hit and walk. Solarte also helped ignite an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play that helped Escalona escape a Ryan Goins base hit in the third.
Jose Pirela collected two more base hits and reached base a third time on a fielder’s choice in the ninth. The RailRiders’ lone All-Star now has a league-leading 106 base hits, while raising his contact clip to .319 on the season.
Rob Refsnyder went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and four groundouts in Saturday’s loss. The hitless day dropped his batting average 18 points from .333 to .315 on the season.
Moosic, Pa. – On a night the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) did not know a lead until the very end, second baseman Rob Refsnyder sent a capacity crowd of 10,000 strong at PNC Field home happy, capping a furious ninth-inning comeback win with a three-run home run that propelled the RailRiders (42-46) to a thrilling 7-6 win Friday night.
The RailRiders’ fate seemed forthcoming. The Herd built a monstrous four-run lead off SWB starter Joel De La Cruz in the first two innings. Back-to-back run-scoring knocks by Dan Johnson and Erik Kratz assembled a 2-0 advantage in the first, before Cory Aldridge’s two-run jack in the second made it 4-0 in favor of the visiting nine.
The spirited RailRiders had a response, first avoiding the shutdown frame in the second with three-straight extra-base hits. Kyle Roller ignited the scoring, legging out a hustle double before plating the SWB’s first run on Scott Sizemore’s double to deep center. John Ryan Murphy helped hang the crooked number by threading an extra-base hit to left that cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Buffalo tagged De La Cruz for another tally in the fourth, this time in the form of a majestic solo homer by Ryan Schimpf that swelled the lead to 5-2.
De La Cruz departed after firing 1-2-3 fourth in favor a trio of bullpen arms. Pat Venditte worked a scoreless fifth and sixth, dancing around hits in each frame before handing the baton off to Danny Burawa in the seventh. The talented right-hander retired six of his seven batters faced via the strikeout to get the RailRiders through the eighth.
Roller made sure a leadoff single by Refsnyder in the eighth did not go to waste, launching an RBI double to center to bring the RailRiders within two. SWB plated another run on a single by Sizemore that drew the contest to 5-4.
Trailing by one heading into the final frame, reliever Jose Ramirez walked the bases loaded and allowed a run on a wild pitch that setup the RailRiders’ ninth-inning theatrics. Steve Delabar struck out his first two batters before a two-out triple by Carmen Angelini kept the frame alive. Delabar bruised Jose Pirela with a ball to the hands to put runners at first and third before Refsnyder finished the charge with his three-run home run in the ninth.
The RailRiders conclude the series with the Bisons Saturday, July 5 at 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sends right-hander Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.31) to the hill, while Buffalo counters with righty Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 4.43). 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
Rob Refsnyder’s three-run home run snapped a four-game home losing skid for SWB. The win marked the club’s first home victory since a 5-4 victory over Pawtucket on June 22. The home run also gave the RailRiders their fourth walk-off victory of the season and the team’s first since an 11-inning triumph over the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) on May 11.
Adonis Garcia went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts Friday night against Buffalo. Since returning from the disabled list Garcia is just 2-for-9 with five strikeouts.
Danny Burawa fanned six of his seven batters faced Friday night to record career-high six strikeouts. Burawa’s previous high-water mark had been five punchouts, which he had accomplished twice with the last such occurrence coming April 13, 2013 against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A/San Francisco Giants).
SWB improved to 6-4 this season against the Herd, including taking the last two games between the two clubs.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
Allentown, Pa. – A giant miscue by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies) in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Park helped aide the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) to a 6-5 win and a series sweep of the IronPigs. Zoilo Almonte blasted his team-leading 11th home run of the campaign and collected four RBIs in the process, while Scott Sizemore provided some insurance of a two-run bomb. The win concludes the RailRiders’ (40-42) five-game four-day road trip against the IL North with a 4-1 record.
Almonte began the scoring by driving in an early run in the first. Rob Refsnyder reached on a double and scored on Almonte’s go-ahead single that notched the early SWB lead at 1-0.
The initial advantage faltered as starter Joel De La Cruz retired his first six hitters before giving up a double to Leandro Castro in the home third. A run-scoring single by Nate Barns plated Lehigh Valley’s first tally before a bases loaded walk to Russ Canzler brought about the second. The walk to Canzler chased De La Cruz from the game with the RailRiders trailing, 2-1.
Chris Bootcheck retired seven straight and carried the 2-1 lead into the fifth before Jose Pirela reached on a single and a walk to Refsnyder put runners on with Almonte stepping to the plate. The RailRiders’ everyday outfielder followed with a majestic home run to right that put the RailRiders on top for good at 4-2.
Lehigh Valley got a run back off reliever Diego Moreno in the sixth, but a two-run jack by Sizemore in the visiting eighth put the game out of reach. A late rally Lehigh Valley rally plated two more runs off reliever Jim Miller that drew the contest back to within one at 6-5 where the scored would stay.
Francisco Rondon (2-0) spun 2.1 innings in relief before departing in line for the win. A trio of talented arms followed as Moreno, Miller and Robert Coello (4) finished the game to keep ‘Pigs at bay. Bootcheck (2-4) was slated with the loss after being chased in the fifth inning.
The RailRiders return to PNC Field Monday, June 30 against Lehigh Valley with a 7:05 p.m. start. The RailRiders send right-hander Bruce Billings (4-4, 4.70) to the mound. Lehigh Valley will toss right-hander Brad Lincoln (4-3, 4.03). John Sadak 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 swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
The RailRiders took their third-straight game against Lehigh Valley to bring the season-long total between the two clubs to 4-6. IronRail trophy is a season-long rivalry series between Pennsylvania’s two International League franchises.
Rob Refsnyder collected another base extra-base hit Sunday afternoon to raise his season long contact clip to .371 in 19 games with SWB. Since June 15 Refsnyder has been the top contact bat in the International League, going 21-for-46 (.457) with five doubles and three home runs.
Lehigh Valley dropped its third-straight one-run ballgame in the 6-5 loss Sunday afternoon.
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! –
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The chase for the IronRail Trophy heated up Saturday night at Coca-Cola Park as the RailRiders rode an early barrage of extra-base hits to a 4-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The RailRiders moved to 3-1 in their five-game road trip and leapt out of last place and over Lehigh Valley in the process. SWB has now claimed the last the last two affairs between the in-state rivals after dropping six of the first seven. The RailRiders had lost nine of their prior 11 one-run games before claiming the single-score success.
WELCOME BACK: Chris Leroux made his first SWB appearance since a loss to Lehigh Valley April 21. He tossed five innings on 75 pitches and allowed just one run on three hits (two infield singles, one on a bunt). It marked his first stateside win since Aug. 27, 2012 when he triumphed versus Columbus while a member of Indianapolis’ rotation.
STOP, THIEVES!: The Chiefs went 4-for-4 in stolen base tries in Thursday’s doubleheader. The RailRiders have allowed their opponents to successfully swipe a bag in each of their last 22 tries. The RailRiders have nabbed just 21 of 107 (.196) would-be base stealers. No IL team has had more stolen base attempts or successes against it than SWB which has the circuit’s worst caught-stealing efficiency. Lehigh Valley leads the league with its .397 caught-stealing efficiency.
UNDER MY PIRELA: Jose Pirela made his first career appearance in right field. He has now played first, second, left and right as a RailRider. He also posted two hits and lifted his average to .316, good for eighth in the IL. He also ranks among the circuit’s best in hits (2nd, 94), runs scored (2nd, 52) and total bases (3rd, 135). He has hit .345/.392/.527/.919 this month with a league-best 38 hits.
WHAT ABOUT BOB?: After starting his Triple-A tenure 2-for-16, Rob Refsnyder has gone 19-for-43 (.442/.579/.791/1.370) with eight extra-base hits (three home runs), nine RBIs, 13 walks and 14 runs scored in 14 games. His efforts yesterday saw him go 1-for-2 with an odd inside-the-park home run. Refsnyder ranks among the league’s June leaders in average (2nd, .356), on-base percentage (.479) and OPS (2nd, 1.090). The June OBP leads all of Triple-A.
ON A ROLL: Kyle Roller went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. His fourth multi-hit showing in his last six games lifted his Triple-A average to .301. He has gone 9-for-20 (.450) in that time with four walks (.542 OBP).
JUST-US LEAGUE: The RailRiders lead the loop in batting average (.271) and slugging (.406)…However, SWB has the IL’s lowest walk total (242, 2.99/game) and just a .335 OBP…Lehigh Valley ranks second-worst with its .242 contact clip and last with its .363 slugging percentage…Lehigh Valley ranks 10th in the 14-team league with its 4.18 ERA while SWB stands 11th at 4.36…The RailRiders own the IL’s second-worst fielding percentage (.976) while the IronPigs boast its fourth-best rate (.982).
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. The 2013 series was an 8-8 draw, but per the rules, the winner of the last game won the tiebreaker. By taking a 3-2 contest on Aug. 31 in Allentown, the RailRiders claimed the prize. SWB owns a 59-46 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 in 2010. The RailRiders trail this year’s set, 6-3.
SPLIT DOUBLE-DIP: It started so well. The RailRiders jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks in large part to a Taylor Dugas bases-loaded double, held off a rally, and used some final-frame insurance to best the mighty Syracuse Chiefs in Thursday’s doubleheader opener, 7-4. The IL juggernaut’s eight-game winning streak was snapped. The RailRiders’ had sliced into their significant divisional deficit. Then came game two. A 3-0 lead thanks to an Austin Romine bases-loaded double seemed set to deliver a carbon-copy victory. But homers by Steven Souza, Jr. and Zach Walters tied the game while chasing Nik Turley. Former SWB and New York Yankee Brandon Laird then singled home Souza in the fourth to give the Chiefs a 4-3 lead. That advantage went final.
THAT’S A FIRST: The doubleheader included Dugas’ first Triple-A extra-base hit…John Ryan Murphy‘s first passed ball as a 2014 RailRider…Scott Sizemore‘s first game at first base since May 29…SWB’s first twinbill since April 17.
FALLING FROM AHEAD: By blowing a 3-0 advantage in game two, the RailRiders tied their season-high mark for largest lead erased in a loss. The team saw a 3-0 edge in a 6-3 loss to Toledo in 10 innings on June 10; in a 5-4 loss at Columbus on June 12; and June 18 in a rain-shortened 4-3 loss at Toledo on June 18. The RailRiders have owned a lead in 19 (45%) of their 42 losses.
TOUGH TIMES: Since its May 28 win at Louisville, SWB has gone 10-18 (.357). Ten of those losses have come by one run or in extra innings.
STOP, THIEVES!: The Chiefs went 4-for-4 in stolen base tries on Thursday. The RailRiders have allowed their opponents to successfully swipe a bag in each of their last 22 tries. The RailRiders have nabbed just 21 of 107 (.196) would-be base stealers. No IL team has had more stolen base attempts or successes against it than SWB which has the circuit’s worst caught-stealing efficiency. Syracuse has allowed the loop’s second-fewest swipes (34) and has seen opponents attempt just 50 steals, also the second-lowest number in the IL.
SCOUTING SYRACUSE: The Chiefs are the hottest and best team in the IL. Winners in nine of 10 while outscoring foes 69-28, the Chiefs have gone a league-best 19-6 in June while leading the league with a .299 team batting average. Steven Souza leads the league in average (.368), OBP (.462) and SLG (.584). He has crushed this month .393/.480/.655/1.135, ranking first or second in each slash category. Laird ranks seventh with his .321 average. He has 24 extra-base hits and 42 RBIs as the team’s usual eight-hole hitter. He enters tonight on a 12-game hitting streak with slashes of .468/.490/.830/1.320, four homers and 14 RBIs. 2013 IL All-Star Zach Walters has hit .281 with 11 homers as the team’s usual second baseman. Syracuse was a league-worst 30-42 at home in 2013, but stands a league-best 27-12 (.692) at home in 2014 and an IL-best 49-31 overall (.613).
JUST-US LEAGUE: The RailRiders lead the loop in batting average (.271) and slugging (.406)…However, SWB has the IL’s lowest walk total (233, 2.6/game) and just a .334 OBP…Syracuse ranks second by fractions of a point with its .271 contact clip and second in both slugging at .403 and ERA at 3.43…No IL squad has allowed fewer homers (41) or issued fewer walks (221) than the Chiefs who have tossed a league-best 11 SHOs while getting blanked a league-best-tying twice…The RailRiders own the IL’s fourth-worst team ERA (4.44) and second-worst fielding percentage (.976) while Syracuse boasts its fifth-best rate (.981)…The RailRiders have won six of the teams’ nine clashes putting the Chiefs at 46-25 (.648) against the rest of the IL and 17-10 (.630) against the balance of the North.
OFF THE RAILS: After starting his Triple-A tenure 2-for-16, Rob Refsnyder has gone 16-for-38 (.421/.551/.658/1.209) with six extra-base hits, five RBIs, 10 walks and 11 runs scored in 12 games…Nik Turley became the 17th different starting pitcher for the RailRiders…The team has used 55 different players in total…Last year’s team used 73 players, two off the league’s single-season record set by Norfolk in 2012, and the 2013 RailRiders had 20 different starting pitchers.