Late inning win

LATE-INNING SMALL BALL NETS ‘DOGS OPENER IN GARY

Indiana — The Saltdogs capitalized on nine Gary SouthShore walks, playing some fine small ball to manufacture runs late in a 4-3 series-opening win at U.S. Steel Yard Tuesday night.

Phil Hawke drove in what proved to be the winning run on a single to right in the top of the eighth. Lincoln used a lead-off walk and sacrifice bunt to set up a go-ahead run in the seventh and insurance run in the eighth. PJ Zocchi tossed a perfect ninth to book his 21st save of the season, one shy of matching the club’s single-season record.

The RailCats pitchers walked nine men – a season-high – and all four of the Saltdogs runs were created by walks. Jake Muyco (1-0) allowed an unearned run in the sixth to pick up the victory in his Lincoln debut.

Will Krout (5-2) allowed a run on two hits and one walk in one inning to suffer the loss. Lincoln stranded 12 runners on base, including leaving the sacks full in both the third and fifth innings. Jorge Cortes went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two walks. Kurt Steinhauer, Hawke, and Rafael Alvarez each booked multi-hit ballgames as well.

Alex Maestri pitched five-plus innings, allowing a run on two hits while striking out two and walking four. The Italian hurler surrendered doubles to the first and final batter he faced. The RailCats have now dropped a season-high five consecutive games, and were knocked out of a postseason slot for the first time since late June.

St. Paul holds a one-game lead over Gary and a 1 1/2 game lead over the ‘Dogs.

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