Nick Van Stratten was 3-for-4 with four RBI, including a back-breaking two-run single in the seventh inning as Sioux Falls swept the RailCats with a 9-5 victory on Sunday at U. S. Steel Yard. Gary (11-11) has lost four straight and six of their last seven contests.
Van Stratten clobbered a lead-off homer in the top of the first off starter Ari Ronick. Van Stratten, who missed a cycle in Saturday’s game by a home run, knocked the fourth pitch of the game over the wall in left field.
Lead-off hitters continued their assault on starting pitching in the bottom of the first as Adam Klein knocked a triple into the alley in right-center off of Canaries’ lefty Mitchell Clegg. Klein came in to score on a wild pitch to tie the game at one after one inning.
With two outs in the second inning, the Canaries mounted a rally. For just the second time this season, Ari Ronick surrendered a multi-run inning. With two out, Kevin Dultz walked and moved to third on Anthony Trajano’s base hit to right. Van Stratten and Jake Taylor followed with RBI singles to give Sioux Falls a 3-1 lead.
As in the first inning, the RailCats matched the Canaries offensive output in the inning with two of their own runs in the bottom of the second. With two out, the ‘Cats knocked four straight singles including RBI base hits from Klein and Mike Massaro to tie the game at three
Sioux Falls’ offense continued to roll in the third. Jared Clark led off the inning with a solo home run, his ninth of the year, then Nate Baumann and Tim Pahuta each reached on errors by the RailCats. Cory Morales followed with an RBI single to make it 6-3.
The RailCats nearly came back to tie the game for a third time in the first three innings. The RailCats loaded the bases with nobody out in the inning when Drew Martinez knocked an RBI single to center. Zac Mitchell followed with a flair left, but Steve Domecus’ throw beat Steve Liddle to the plate for the first out in the inning. Danny Pulfer then roped a base hit to right to make it 6-5 before Klein grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Ronick (3-2) surrendered six runs, four earned, on seven hits in five innings in the loss. Ian Durham came on in relief in the sixth and the Canaries loaded the bases with one out on an error, a single and an intentional walk. Steve Domecus lined into a double play to end the threat and keep the RailCats within a run.
Clegg (1-0) allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings in the victory.
The Canaries blew the game open in the seventh inning against Durham. With two out, Morales lined an RBI single to right. A single and a walk followed to load the bases for Nick Van Stratten, who hit a two-run single to right to put Sioux Falls ahead 9-5.
Massaro was 3-for-3 with an RBI and has reached base safely in all 22 RailCats games this season.
The RailCats six-game homestand continues with a three-game set with the Quebec Capitales starting on Monday at 7:10 p.m.. It’s Kids Eat Free Monday at U. S. Steel Yard, for more information log on to www.railcatsbaseball.com.