Buffalo, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bisons (7-5) may have derailed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (7-6) Wednesday night, but in Thursday’s doubleheader, SWB stayed on track. Brian Gordon (1-1, 2.30) and Chase Whitley (1-1, 3.72) were sharp, combining to allow three base hits throughout the two games. The RailRiders offense supplied the thunder in a four home run contest, two courtesy of Zoilo Almonte. The two different tales added up to a doubleheader sweep, as the RailRiders claimed game one 2-1, before finishing off the twinbill with a 7-2 win.
A night after combining for 24 base hits, the RailRiders and Bisons flipped the script in the first game of the day. With veterans Gordon and Ricky Romero (0-0, 3.60) toeing the slab, runs proved scarce.
Gordon twirled 5.2 innings, giving up his first base hit in the fifth on a ground ball to left. While Romero’s lone blemish occurred in the RailRiders third.
SWB set the tone for the day early. Antoan Richardson led the third off with a walk. Carmen Angelini dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved Richardson to second, and the centerfielder then took third on a stolen base. Jose Pirela recorded his first RBI of the season, knocking a base hit to left to plate Richardson. The run gave the RailRiders the early lead, 1-0.
RailRiders starter Gordon worked around four walks, including a leadoff free passes to begin the second and third. Gordon departed in the sixth in favor of closer Matt Daley. The RailRiders closer stranded a runner after finishing the frame with a strikeout to Kevin Pillar. The strikeout by Daley was one of six Bisons to go down swinging in the final four innings.
Not to be outdone, Buffalo’s Romero was equally as good. The former Blue Jay tossed six innings, allowing just two base hits. After the RBI single by Pirela in the third, Romero retired 11 of his final 12 batters before exiting.
The Herd’s offense awoke in the seventh. Nolan added his second hit with a double to left. With Nolan on second, Chris Getz brought around the tying run on a single up the middle. The two hits in the inning doubled the Herd’s offensive output in the previous six innings.
After stranding the winning run in the top of the eighth, right-hander Danny Burawa (2-0) relieved Daley. Burawa worked out of a jam, walking back-to-back batters to begin the eighth. Burawa induced consecutive fly ball outs by Tuiasosopo and Pillar before striking out Ricardo Nanita to end the threat.
SWB broke the 1-1 deadlock with a run in the ninth. Ronnier Mustelier led off the ninth with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Austin Romine moved Mustelier to second, Angelini delivered on an RBI single up the middle. The RBI allowed Mustelier to score to give the RailRiders the first game, 2-1.
Burawa earned the win, while Austin Bibens-Dirkx (0-1) was slated with a loss.
The RailRiders offense found its rhythm in game two, striking 13 base hits and four home runs. Flores singled to open the game. Kyle Drabek (1-1, 7.07) tried back-to-back pickoff attempts before the second try skipped away from first baseman, Jared Goedert. The throwing error by Drabek allowed Flores to move to third. Flores would eventually come around to score after a double by Pirela.
Corban Joseph and Almo¬¬nte each added solo blasts to begin third and fourth. After Almonte’s homerun in the fourth, Garcia followed with a double and scored on a single to left by Joseph. The RailRiders padded the lead with a home run in the fourth by Pirela, and Richardson added an RBI single to score Joseph in the fifth.
Whitley followed the template set by Gordon, tossing five strong innings. The five shutout frames by Whitley set the tone for the RailRiders relievers. Buffalo struggled offensively for much of the second tilt, scratching across single runs in the sixth and seventh.
The final horn sounded after Almonte added his second home run of the day, a blast to right field to cement the game. The lead proved to be too much to overcome for Buffalo as the RailRiders claimed the 7-2 triumph. The doubleheader sweep gave SWB their first road series win of the year.
The RailRiders return home for the first of an eight-game homestand at PNC Field Friday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. SWB will is still TBA, while the IronPIgs will toss right-hander Brad Lincoln (1-0, 0.00). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on MyNetwork TV, while Jim Riley fills in on radio. Pregame show starts at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio – The GAME, Northeast PA’s largest sports radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. The RailRiders return home on Friday, April 18 when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs visit PNC Field for a four-game series and eight-game homestand. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
OFF THE RAILS:
- The RailRiders offense combined for four homeruns in the second game of the doubleheader.
- Almonte added the RailRiders first multi-homerun game of the season.
- SWB combined for six extra-base hits in game two after not hitting one in the first game.
- The top three hitters in the RailRiders offense combined for three homeruns and a double.