SCRANTON, PA – The RailRiders’ bats were shut down early but after Louisville Bats’ pitcher Sal Romano left the game they found new life. Clutch performances from both the hitting and the pitching led Scranton Wilkes-Barre to a 4-1 victory Wednesday night at PNC Field.
Louisville took an early 1-0 lead off of a Juan Perez double in the fifth inning. The RailRiders were having a hard time figuring out the Louisville starter Romano. He was throwing the ball well when he came out to warm up in the sixth. He threw one pitch and had to leave the game with an injury.
That is when the momentum changed.
Ji-Man Choi started the seventh inning with a double off of the left field wall that was an inch from being a homerun. After a Mason Williams walk, Donovan Solano bunted and was injured on the play. That set up Reuben Tejada to drop a bloop single to right field and tie the game at one.
“One thing I’ve been trying to do with (Tejada) is have him balance our lineup and he’s been coming through in key situations,” RailRiders Manager Al Pedrique said.
With two outs in the same inning, Tyler Wade stepped up to the plate and fought at the plate until he found a pitch he liked. He laced a single up the middle and gave the RailRiders their first lead of the game at 2-1.
“We had our chances early in the game and we just fell short,” Pedrique said. “Romano was throwing well and obviously the guys felt comfortable to see him leave and we got an opportunity to score some runs.”
Luis Cessa was on the mound for the RailRiders and he battled his way to a solid performance. In the first few innings Cessa was getting hit hard by Louisville. He worked himself in and out of jams throughout the game while giving up a lot of contact. He didn’t record his first strikeout until the 7th inning.
“I’ve been working on my fastball command and my back was a little tight today,” Cessa said. “It’s my lower back and I first felt it last night in my bullpen.”
Cessa said he doesn’t feel like the back injury would keep him out for any time but it is bothering him and never loosened up during tonight’s game.
In the early innings Cessa was trying to establish his fastball. It resulted in him leaving the ball high in the zone and giving up hits. He later found his way and turned in a gritty performance. He pitched to one run over 6.2 innings with 9 hits, 1 strikeout and no walks.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Dustin Fowler hit a booming double off of the center field wall and Rob Refsnyder reached on an infield single. After two batters failed to knock in the runs, Mark Payton, pinch hitting for the injured Solano, took a pitch to right field for a RBI double. That gave the RailRiders a 4-1 lead that they would hold on to.
The win goes to Tyler Webb for the RailRiders and the loss gets handed to Alejandro Chacin. Ernesto Frieri picks up the save.
The RailRiders meet the Bats again tomorrow for a 6:35 PM ET start time at PNC Field. Chad Green (2-1, 2.00 ERA) takes the mound for the RailRiders and Lisalverto Bonilla (2-0, 5.56) goes for Louisville.