Baby Bombers 2018 Playoff Blog: RailRiders go one-up in quest For the Cup
The RailRiders and Durham Bulls found out on Tuesday afternoon that they would play the entirety of the Governors' Cup Series at PNC Field, the International League making the move because of the effects of Hurricane Florence expected across the Carolinas this weekend.
Well, Mother Nature had a little fun in store for Game 1 in NEPA as well, as she caused a nearly three-hour rain delay late in the game - but in the end, it was all sunshine and rainbows for the RailRiders, who came away with a 3-2 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.
SWB had the first scoring chance, putting runners on first and third with two outs in the second, but it was actually Durham who scored first, loading the bases with no one out against Justus Sheffield before a double play brought the first run home.
The RailRiders quickly struck back, though, as Wilkin Castillo and Mark Payton roped back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the frame, and Bruce Caldwell followed with a two-run double to give SWB a 2-1 lead. Later in the inning, Ryan McBroom plated Caldwell with a two-out single to make it 3-1.
Former Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder hit a solo homer off David Sosebee in the seventh to make it 3-2, and Durham threatened again in the eighth, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Joe Harvey came in and escaped the jam.
Ryan McBroom then walked to start the bottom of the eighth, and that's when the rains came, and forcing the two teams to wait nearly three hours to play the bottom of the eighth; after the delay, though, Forest Gibauld retired three RailRiders in a row, and George Kontos worked around a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth to shut the door for the save.
At the plate, Zack Zehner (2-for-4) was the only RailRider with a multi-hit game, while Gio Urshela and McBroom, who were both 1-for-3 with a walk, reached base multiple times. Caldwell, Payton, Castillo, and Shane Robinson each had a hit, and Ford drew the other walk ahead of McBroom's RBI single.
On the mound, Domingo German, who was added to the roster when Erik Swanson went on the DL, got the start and dazzled over three scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out five. Sheffield then followed with three strong innings of his own, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out two and getting the win.
Sosebee allowed only Refsnyder's home run the seventh, Cale Coshow (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) and Harvey (0.2 IP, 1 K) got the eighth, and Kontos allowed just that walk in the ninth to get the save.
The best-of-five series continues Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m., and the RailRiders will send lefty Nestor Cortes to the mound against Durham righty Austin Pruitt. Although the entire series will be played at PNC Field, this will technically be the RailRiders' final home game of 2018, Game 3 and Games 4 and 5 if necessary will see the Bulls as the home team.