LINCOLN, NEB. — Three errors by the Gary infield was too much to overcome against Lincoln on a chilly Saturday evening at Haymarket Park as the RailCats fell to the Saltdogs, 5-2, in the first matchup of the year between the two clubs. Saturday’s game lasted just two hours, 21 minutes, the fastest 9-inning game of the year played by the RailCats.
Gary (36-66) took the opening lead of the series with a two-out run in the fourth. Randy Santiesteban doubled down the third base line with two outs before coming around to score on Alex Crosby’s RBI single through the right side of the infield.
Lincoln (38-54) cut the Gary lead to one with their first run of the series in the sixth. Christian Ibarra reached on a two-base throwing error by Hayden Schilling at third to begin the frame. Forest Allday then flew out to deep right-center, moving Ibarra up to third before All-Star Curt Smith brought home Ibarra with a sacrifice fly to right-center.
Gary regained the lead on Ray Jones’s two-out solo blast to right-center in the top of the seventh. Jones’ home run was his third of the season, all of which have come on the road.
The Saltdogs countered with a three-run bottom of the seventh to take the lead for good. Nick Schulz and Cody Regis singled consecutively to begin the inning. Daniel Herrera then advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, however, a throwing error by catcher Danny De La Calle allowed Herrera to reach safely, and scored Schulz to tie the game. Tyler Moore then replaced Nick Crouse as the designated hitter and put Lincoln in front for the first time with a sacrifice fly to right. Two batter later, Ibarra doubled the lead with a two-out RBI single to left.
Lincoln added the game’s final run in the eighth to go up by three. Josh Mazzola singled to left to start the inning before Schulz was hit. Regis then moved Mazzola up to third with a fielder’s choice before Herrera delivered the final run of the game with an RBI fielder’s choice.
John Brownwell (8-5) recorded his first complete game win of the year in his 16th start. The 36-year-old right-hander yielded two runs on six walks, walked just one and struck out a pair.
Nile Ball (2-2) was tagged with the loss. The rookie right-hander went a career-high 6.2 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
Gary resumes its three-game series vs. Lincoln on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. The RailCats have yet to announce their starter while the Saltdogs counter with right-hander Jake Hohensee (4-7, 4.88) in the middle game of the series.
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Saturday, Aug. 31st to conclude the season vs. Lincoln. Saturday’s game is at 4:10 p.m. and is Oktoberfest, presented by Berey Bros., and features a team card set giveaway to the first 1,000 fans. Sunday’s game is also another AccessAbilities Signature Saturday and Kids Run the Bases.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.