The River City Rascals (39-34) ambushed the Evansville Otters (39-31) pitching staff and tied their season high with 13 runs on 13 hits and it was just enough to knock off the Evansville Otters, 13-12, Saturday night at CarShield in front of a season high 4, 516 fans.
Every player in the Rascals lineup recorded at least one hit and seven of the nine notched an RBI.
Mike Jurgella led the way with three hits in his first three at-bats, including a two-run home run in the third inning to give him ten on the year, good for second on the team. Paul Kronenfeld also had a trio of hits and reached a total of four times with a walk.
Two of Kronenfeld’s three hits came in the fourth inning and he became the third Rascal this year to record multiple hits in the same frame.
The Greensboro, North Carolina, native was just one of five Rascals who came to the plate twice in the inning and in total the Rascals tallied eight hits, eight runs and broke the game open with a 13-5 lead.
Brandon Thomas drove in the first run in the frame via a sacrifice fly which broke a 5-5 tie and then eight Rascals in a row would reach after that.
Jason Merjano added a RBI double to extend the lead to 7-5 and then Josh Silver responded with a two RBI single for RBI number 42 and 43 of the year.
The final four RBI came via a Mike Jurgella double, a two RBI single from Braxton Martinez and a RBI hit from Kronenfeld.
“We had some pretty quality at-bats and we also got some holes tonight for the first time in awhile that gave us some bloop hits,” manager Steve Brook said. “Sometimes that’s what you need to get some comfort at the plate. We had some lineouts not find holes over the last few days so it was nice to have those bloop hits fall tonight.”
The eight run frame gave the Rascals a 13-5 lead and that would barely be enough as the Otters came storming back through the later innings of the ball game against the Rascal relief corps.
Evansville scored two runs, unearned, in the seventh to cut the deficit to 13-7 and they would threaten again in their next opportunity.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, the Otters scored a pair of runs on a throwing error and then one batter later, the 2016 Frontier League Champion came within one run when veteran John Schultz stroked a ball over the center field wall against Storm Rynard to put the score at 13-12.
The home run caused Rascals manager Steve Brook to go to his closer and Cody Mincey came on for a five out save.
Mincey allowed the first two baserunners to reach but then struck out shortstop Chris Riopedre and picked off the tying run, Luke Lowery at second base to end the threat.
Mincey sealed the victory in the ninth with a fly out and two strikeouts to earn his team leading eighth save of the year.
Zeb Sneed earned the win to improve to 4-0 and tossed five innings giving up five runs, earned, on seven hits and struck out a season high seven.
The win gives the Rascals the chance to win the series Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. and improve to six games over the .500 mark as they look to climb their way into the final wild card spot.
“It was a long night and then it started raining and rain equals trouble on turf. We made a bunch of errors in the seventh and eighth innings, pitchers stopped throwing strikes and we put ourselves in a tough spot against the top offensive team in the league in my opinion.” Brook said. “Luckily we had Mincey to come in and shut the door. We get to go home happy tonight and have the chance to win the rubber match tomorrow.”