Arena Sportsnet

RailCats Ride Big Second Inning

GARY, Ind. — Three hits from Reggie Wilson and a seven-run top of the second in front of 3,508 fans at U.S. Steel Yard led the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 10-5 season-opening win over the St. Paul Saints on Friday night. Every starter reached base at least once and the season-opening win was Gary’s first since defeating the Lincoln Saltdogs, 9-8, in 2013.

Gary (1-0) opened the 2018 season with an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Alex Crosby recorded the first hit of the season with a single to center before Randy Santiesteban drew a walk. Newcomer Mitch Glasser then advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. The reigning American Association Rookie of the Year Colin Willis followed with a sacrifice fly to center, bringing home Crosby for the first run of the year.

St. Paul (0-1) quickly gained their first lead of the season with a pair of runs in the top of the second. The Saints had the first three hitters of the frame reach base after getting a walk from Noah Perio Jr. and singles from Jayce Boyd and Dante Bichette Jr. Two batters later, Kes Carter drove in Perio Jr. and Bichette Jr. to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

Gary responded in the bottom of the second with seven runs after bringing 12 to the plate. Christoph Bono evened the game at 2-2 with an RBI double into the right field corner before Cole Fabio brought home Bono and Wilson with a two-run double to right-center. Crosby extended the ‘Cats lead to 6-2 with a sacrifice fly down the line in left, bringing in Fabio. A Saints fielding error allowed the RailCats to tack on another run before back-to-back two-out RBI singles from Wilfredo Gimenez and Wilson put Gary in front 8-2.

The RailCats extended their lead to eight with two more runs in the third. Crosby drew a one-out walk before Santiesteban shot a single to right, giving the RailCats runners on second and third. Two batters later, Willis drew the first of his two walks on the night to load the bases. Andy Paz followed Willis with a two-run double down the third base line, scoring both Crosby and Santiesteban.

Carter recorded his final of three RBIs on the night with a two-out solo home run down the right field line in the top of the fourth. Carter’s homer was the first of two on the night for the Saints and trimmed the ‘Cats lead to 10-3. Two innings later, Justin O’Conner cut the Saints’ deficit to 10-5 with a two-run home run to left-center in the top of the 6th.

Daniel Minor (1-0) recorded the win in his first professional season-opening start. The right-hander went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five. Lars Liguori retired the last seven he faced and allowed two runs over 2.2 innings in his season debut while Keaton Steele recorded the final four outs in his Independent Professional Baseball debut.

Former MLB pitcher Jake Esch was charged with the loss in his Independent Professional Baseball debut. Esch lasted just 1.2 innings, yielding eight runs (five earned) on seven hits, one walk and two hit batters. Gary continues their three-game series vs. St. Paul on Saturday, May 19th at 3:10 p.m. RHP Eddie Medina (0-0, 0.00) opposes LHP Alex Gunn (0-0, 0.00) in the second game of the season.

Saturday’s game is a Kids Replica Jersey Day, Signature Saturday and Kids Run the Bases. The first 500 kids (13 and under) receive a kid’s replica jersey, courtesy of Fifth Third Bank, and the first 1,000 fans get a free magnet schedule, presented by Northwest Indiana Orthopedic & Spine Center at Methodist Hospitals. Pre-game autographs, courtesy of AccessAbilities, Inc., will take place on the concourse when gates open and kids get to run the bases after the game.

Jared Shlensky and Brennan Mense bring you all 100 RailCats game this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at railcatsbaseball.com. Ticket packages for the 2018 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.

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