The River City Rascals (37-31) continued to roll Tuesday night and drowned the Western Division leader Florence Freedom (42-25), 9-1, in game one of the four game series at CarShield Field.
The win gives the Rascals a four game winning streak and overall they have won 12 of 16 games since the Frontier League All-Star Break.
Offensively, the Rascals got solid production from the entire order and every player in the lineup reached at least once or recorded a RBI.
Josh Silver and Paul Kronenfeld helped set the tone early as they strung together back-to-back two out hits, including a RBI single from Kronenfeld to take an early 1-0 lead in the opening frame.
Florence responded with a run of their own via a RBI groundout in the top of the second but that was the only run they were able muster all night and they finished with just three hits against the Rascals starting southpaw Lucas Laster.
“I have a great defense behind me and whatever they hit, my fielders were able to track it down,” Laster said after his second start this year. “I feel like my arm is finally back and healthy and I am ready to make a push for the end of the year.”
Laster’s first baseman, Clint Freeman, gave him the eventual game-winning run to put him in line for the win in the second inning as he sent a ball over the center field wall for his fifth home run of the year.
Silver and Josh Ludy each drove in a run in the third inning to give Laster some breathing room up 4-1 and then the lead grew larger as the night went on.
Three time Frontier League All-Star Josh Ludy drove in his second run via a RBI groundout in the fifth for a 5-1 lead and it marked the second time in the last eight games that he notched a multi-RBI game.
All five of the runs in the first five innings were charged to Freedom starter Braulio Torres-Perez and he would go on to take his first loss of the year.
Torres-Perez lasted one more frame and finished with a line of six innings, allowing seven runs, six earned, on five hits, five walks and struck out eight.
The sixth and seventh runs charged against him came on a ground ball off the bat of shortstop Johnny Morales.
With the bases loaded and one out, Morales bounced one to the Freedom third baseman and he made an errant throw into right field to bring in a pair of runs that brought the score to 7-1.
Braxton Martinez highlighted the late innings with his team leading tenth home run that came in the eighth inning and it was his seventh hit in his last four games.
“I have been working alot with Merjano and Thomas,” Martinez said. “I have been doing a lot of tee work and little things like that have led to good at-bats as of late.”
The Rascals capped off their nine run night when Josh Silver was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Besides the final RBI, Silver tallied two doubles and Clint Freeman was another offensive notable tallying three hits, including his solo home run.
“Freeman had a huge night and came up big with the go-ahead solo shot in the second inning,” manager Steve Brook said. “Overall, we had good at-bats all night and even the guys that didn’t get hits really executed at times that helped us out with some runs such as a sacrifice bunt and some RBI groundouts.”
Matt Chavarria earned the save, his second of the year and held the opponent hitless with three strikeouts in three innings.
The Rascals continue the series Wednesday evening with a doubleheader against the Freedom.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. and southpaw Dan Ludwig takes the mound for game one.
“Tonight was a huge win against a first place team and we are feeling really good,” Martinez said having won four straight games. “Our pitcher’s have been lights out and our entire lineup is performing well.”