The River City Rascals (14-12) tallied their Frontier League leading fourth shutout of the year behind a marvelous outing from Hector Hernandez and Taylor Love delivered a huge two out RBI triple to send the Rascals on their way to a 3-0 victory over the Windy City ThunderBolts (16-10) Saturday night at CarShield Field.
The win gives the Rascals their second consecutive series win, a three game winning streak, and the club has now won five out of their past six games.
The marvelous outing from Hernandez came six days after he picked up his first win of the year against Gateway and he was even better Saturday night, allowing just two hits in 7.2 innings of work. The first hit came right away from leadoff hitter Keenyn Walker and then he didn’t allow his final until a one out single in the eighth inning from shortstop Ransom LaLonde.
LaLonde was the second base runner of the inning to reach as Hernandez hit the leadoff man. With two on and one out, Hernandez tallied his seventh strikeout of the night and then walked Walker to load the bases and put the tying run on base.
Manager Steve Brook went to reliever Nick Kennedy to limit the damage and he answered the call with a strikeout to Coco Johnson to end the inning.
Kennedy followed that up with a three up, three down ninth to earn his second save of the year.
On the opposite side of things was righty Clay Chapman, who tossed a solid outing despite taking his third loss of the year.
He mowed down the Rascals the first time through the order but would give up the eventual winning run in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run from Jimmy Kerrigan, his second in as many days.
That was one of two hits in the inning, a two-out single from Mike Jurgella, who was the lone Rascal to tally a multi-hit game.
Chapman was dominant again up until there were two outs in the seventh inning. Brandon Thomas was hit by a pitch and then Clint Freeman singled to get Thomas over to third.
After a mound visit from ThunderBolts manager Ron Biga, Chapman fell behind in the count 2-0 and Taylor Love took advantage lacing a ball into the left center gap to score a pair of runs and extend the Rascals lead to 3-0.
The triple was the second of the year for Love and he is one behind Jason Merjano for the team lead.
The Rascals continue their season Sunday evening as they go for their second series sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. with Tim Koons on the mound.