The River City Rascals (24-24) won their third consecutive one-run game with a 3-2 victory over the Joliet Slammers (20-25) on the Fourth of July Tuesday night at SIlver Cross Field.
The win gives the Rascals their first road series win of the year and they get back to the .500 mark for the first time since June 26th.
After having to play from behind for seven innings in game one, the Rascals were the first team on the board and used three doubles and an error in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead against the Slammers starter Skylar Janisse.
WIth one out, Rascals All-Star Mike Jurgella notched the first extra-base hit and then stole third and would advance home on the same play due to an errant throw from Spencer Navin.
Josh Ludy would feed off that with a double of his own and would score one pitch later as Braxton Martinez stroked a ball down the left field line to get his 21st RBI of the year and put his team on top 2-0.
On the mound for the Rascals was Tim Koons and he was dominant keeping the opponent off the scoreboard for the first six frames despite five baserunners reaching scoring position.
After the seventh inning stretch, the opponent opened up the inning with a leadoff single from Spencer Navin and a one out walk to Chaz Meadows put the tying run on base.
The Slammers would get on the scoreboard quickly after the walk as a hard hit bouncer off the bat of Edwin Gomez got by Clint Freeman at first base that scored Navin and cut the deficit in half.
Gomez was the final batter of the night for Koons and reliever Jason Zgardowski was called upon out of the bullpen by manager Steve Brook to face the the former Triple-A outfielder Juan Silva.
Silva drew a walk to bring up Danny Zardon and during his at-bat, Zgardowski threw a wild pitch that brought in Chaz Meadows from third to tie the game. The righty was then helped by his left fielder and on what was a possible sacrifice fly, Jimmy Kerrigan threw out Gomez at the plate to avoid the Slammers taking the lead.
The game wasn’t tied for long as Jurgella led off the next half inning with a walk against reliever Andrew Zellner.
Jurgella would proceed to steal second and advance to third on a deep fly ball from Clint Freeman to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away from stepping on home plate.
After Josh Ludy bounced one back to the pitcher, Braxton Martinez came up with two outs and put the ball in play to the third baseman Zardon.
However, Zardon wasn’t able to make a clean throw over to first baseman Rock Shoulders and it allowed Jurgella to scamper home and score what would go on to be the game-winning run.
Zgardowski was in line for the win after that and Cody Mincey came on for the bottom of the ninth for his third straight save opportunity and his fifth of the year.
Similar to Monday night, it didn’t come routine as Ridge Hoopi-Haslam led off with a double and then Chaz Meadows reached on an infield single that was intended to be a sacrifice bunt.
Despite runners at the corners and no outs, Mincey earned his fifth save via a pop out in foul territory and back-to-back strikeouts on a pair of Frontier League All-Stars in Juan Silva and Danny Zardon.
The win gives the Rascals the opportunity to go for their second series sweep over the Slammers Wednesday night with southpaw Dan Ludwig on the mound.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and it is the final game of 16 straight days with a game, the longest stretch of the season.
River City Rascals