JOLIET, Ill. — The Gary SouthShore RailCats scored three runs in the sixth against Joliet starter Aaron Trolia, but the JackHammer bullpen closed the door on the comeback, as the RailCats fell to the JackHammers 6-3 at Silver Cross Field on Thursday night.
RailCats starter Tom Thornton (0-1) breezed through his first two innings but Adam Klein hit a run scoring double in the third to put the JackHammers on the board. Thornton then ran into trouble in the fourth. After striking out Joey Gomes to lead off the inning, Thornton allowed five of the next six JackHammers to reach and four to score. Thornton gave up one more run in the fifth and left the game after 4.2 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits.
Trolia was excellent through his first five innings as the RailCats picked up just four hits and grounded into two double plays. But the Gary offense got going in the sixth. Rob Marconi led off with a single and advanced to second on a Trolia balk. That allowed Jay Pecci’s single to score Marconi. Steve Haake then followed with an infield single, Jordan Czarniecki reached on a throwing error by Joliet catcher Phil Avlas, and then Mike Rohde drove in Pecci and Hakke to push Trolia out of the game.
However, the JackHammer bullpen would then stop the RailCats momentum. Drew Shetrone retired the next three batters to end the sixth-inning rally. Ryan Paul would pitch a scoreless seventh and after running into trouble in the eighth, would be relieved by Jason Richardson who allowed just one hit in the final two innings to pick up the save. The RailCats amassed 11 hits but also left 11 men on base.
Pecci, Haake, Eric McNamee, and Mike Massaro each had two hits in the offensive effort. The RailCats bullpen was spotless as well as Jeff Fischer and Aaron Cook combined for 3.1 innings of two-hit shutout relief.
The RailCats (4-3) return to U. S. Steel Yard to open a three-game series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (1-5) Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Former Los Angeles Dodger Onan Masaoka (0-0, 1.80 ERA) will start for the RailCats against Fargo right-hander Billy Weitzman (0-1, 11.57). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Friday night is also Country Night at U. S. Steel Yard, with Mike “The Mullet Man” Summers from Indiana 105 entertaining all night at the ballpark and a live pregame concert from Billy Wayne. The RailCats will also give away Magnet Schedules to the first 5,000 fans, courtesy Bennigan’s, and after the game fans will enjoy a postgame fireworks spectacular presented by First Midwest Bank and the Post-Tribune.
Notes: Mike Massaro went 9-16 in the four-game home-and-home series against Joliet…The RailCats and Jackhammers will play each other six more times before June 8.