The River City Rascals (24-25) held a lead for the first six innings but failed to finish off the series sweep as the Joliet Slammers (21-25) plated six runs in their final two frames to drop the Rascals,8-5, Wednesday night at Silver Cross Field.
Despite the loss, the Rascals won their first road series of the year and finish the regular season against the Joliet Slammers with five wins in six attempts.
In the opening frame, the Rascals tallied four hits to take a 2-0 lead and sent a total of seven batters to the plate against the Slammers southpaw Tyler House.
Jimmy Kerrigan led off his stellar night with a double and then got to third on an infield single from fifth year shortstop Johnny Morales to put runners at the corners with no outs for Rascals All-Star Josh Silver.
Silver lived up to his honor by notching a RBI single to put his team up 1-0 and then Brandon Thomas kept the stanza going with a sacrifice fly to score Morales.
Rascals starter Dan Ludwig had a 2-0 lead by the time he took the mound in the bottom of the first attempting to win his fifth game of the year.
After a scoreless first, the Slammers cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second with back-to-back doubles from Spencer Navin and Edwin Gomez. Gomez was then thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple with an outfield assist from left fielder Jimmy Kerrigan.
The all-around great night for Kerrigan continued in the fifth inning as the rookie clubbed his sixth round tripper of the year to put his team back on top by two runs.
Once again, the Slammers answered with a run of their own in their next opportunity but the one run deficit wouldn’t last for long courtesy of Josh Ludy executing a perfect hit and run attempt that scored Mike Jurgella from the second base bag.
That would be the final of three total two-run leads of the night for the Rascals and the Slammers would avoid losing their sixth straight game with six runs combined in the seventh and eighth inning against the Rascals bullpen.
The first two runs came quickly after the stretch as slugger Rock Shoulders took the Rascals first reliever of the night Garrett Harrison over the right-center field wall and then with runners at the corners and one out, Mike Jurgella threw the ball over Silver’s head into left field on a first and third stolen base attempt to bring in the tying run.
Righty Jason Zgardowski stopped the bleeding after that and kept the game tied heading into the eighth.
River City failed to answer the Slammers offensively and then caught more bad breaks in the bottom of the eighth inning with Matt Chavarria on the mound.
Following a leadoff single, Navin drilled a ball off of Chavarria’s ankle that didn’t bounce right to any of the fielders behind him and the Slammers had the go-ahead run in scoring position with nobody out. A sacrifice bunt would be followed by a walk and then a RBI single from Josh Merrigan put his team on top.
The biggest blow of the night occurred next and it came off of the bat of Chaz Meadows. Meadows lifted the ball to right field for a sacrifice fly, however it would end up clearing the bases as an error and an interference call allowed Shoulders and Merrigan to score from the first and second base bags.
Trailing 8-4 going into the ninth, the Rascals managed one run in the ninth after a pair of hits, including the fourth hit of the night for Jimmy Kerrigan.
The four hit game was the second of the year for Kerrigan which leads the team in that category. In total, the Rascals tallied 11 hits and also got multi-hit games from Mike Jurgella and Josh Ludy.
Slammers reliever Joe Ortiz got the win and Chavarria got the loss, his third of the year.
Rascals starter Dan Ludwig took a no-decision allowing two runs, earned, on six hits and struck out two.
After an off-day on Thursday, the Rascals continue their season Friday night as they welcome the Schaumburg Boomers for a three game series.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at CarShield Field.