A seventh-inning run for Windy City (19-15) via a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning stood as the game-winner as the River City Rascals (17-16) dropped the series finale, 3-2, Sunday afternoon on the road at Standard Bank Stadium.
After being shutout in game two of the series, the Rascals were the first on the scoreboard on Father’s Day with a pair of runs against the ThunderBolts' lefty starter Jake Stolley.
With one out, the Rascals notched four straight singles but each man on base was only to advance one base at a time and the first run didn’t come in until the fourth hit, a RBI single from Josh Ludy to get his team on the board.
With the bases loaded, Stolley recorded one of his five strikeouts in his short outing, but couldn’t find the zone against Clint Freeman and he walked him on four pitches to extend the Rascals lead to a pair of runs, 2-0.
Freeman’s walk was the final RBI the Rascals were able to record on the afternoon and just two more hits went in the Rascals column the remainder of the night, a single from the team leader in batting average Jimmy Kerrigan and a leadoff double in the sixth inning off the bat of Braxton Martinez.
On the mound for the Rascals was Stephen Swagerty and he took a no-decision in his first start in a Rascals uniform.
In five innings, Swagerty allowed just one run, a RBI groundout from Austin Darby to give him his second RBI in as many days.
Aside from the run, the righty gave up three hits, walked six and struck out four.
The first man out of the bullpen for the Rascals was Jason Zgardowski and after throwing a scoreless sixth, a pair of baserunners got on via a walk and a hit-by-pitch before moving into scoring position with one out due to a sacrifice bunt from Blair Beck.
Beck was the final hitter for Zgardowski and Matt Chavarria came in hunting to keep the Rascals on top by a run. However, that didn’t last long as a sacrifice fly from David Kerian tied the game at two and a wild pitch on the same pitch as a walk one batter later brought home the eventual winning run and the loss was charged to Zgardowski.
“We didn’t do a good job at commanding the strike zone today,” manager Steve Brook said. “Eight walks and two hit-by-pitches in a big ballpark with turf isn’t going to get it done.”
The win went to the Bolts first reliever, John Jaeger, who held the Rascals scoreless on two hits in 2.1 innings. Starting pitcher Jake Stolley got a no-decision allowing the two fourth-inning runs on four hits and Brian Loconsole picked up his Frontier League leading 13th save of the season.
The loss in the rubber match marks the Rascals sixth straight series road loss and they now sit just one game over the .500 mark after finishing the six-game road trip 2-4.
“One positive from this road trip is that we still haven’t gotten swept and I always say over the course of the year if we go the whole season without getting swept then we will be there at the end,” manager Steve Brook said. “But, It is a red flag that we have not won any road series yet this year and that we have given away a good number of games which should have resulted in wins.”
The Rascals have an off-day Monday and then begin a seven-game homestand and their longest stretch of the season with the first of 16 games.
The first opponent is Southern Illinois and first pitch from CarShield Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
“We are officially one-third of the way through the season and I preach from the beginning that we are always trying to get better and always trying to finish strong. This team, like any other team that I have had is in a great position to do that and we do have a lot of great pieces here. I feel like with some adjustments we can be a team that wins seven out of eight on a regular basis,” Brook concluded within his statements following the game.