SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Slade Heathcott began Friday night’s game at NBT Bank Stadium with his first career Triple-A home run. He ended it with a 10th-inning sacrifice fly that proved the difference in his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ (Triple-A/New York Yankees) win over the host Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals), 8-7. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the RailRiders (3-6) and dropped the Chiefs back below .500 (4-5).
Heathcott’s leadoff homer off Scott McGregor gave SWB a 1-0 lead. Two walks, a McGregor error and a pair of two-out hits then combined for a three-run second inning that ballooned the advantage to 4-0. The Chiefs responded with a picket fence when they plated single scores in four of the next five innings.
With the lead slimmed to a single score at 5-4, the RailRiders found breathing room in the top of the eighth thanks to RBIs from Nick Noonan and Ramon Flores. In the home half of the frame, however, Syracuse’s Kila Ka’aihue slammed a three-run homer to right field off of Nick Rumbelow to tie the game at 7.
Jose Ramirez (1-0) entered in relief thereafter and authored 1.2 scoreless innings of one-hit ball en route to the win. That was possible thanks to some late small ball. Jonathan Galvez singled off third baseman Ian Stewart’s glove to start the visiting 10th and Austin Romine followed with a single of his own. Noonan then dropped a successful sacrifice to advance the runners and Heathcott followed with a sac fly to center for the 8-7 edge.
Southpaw Jacob Lindgren struck out two in a scoreless 10th to log his first Triple-A save.
The four-game series continues on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Kyle Davies is scheduled to make his SWB debut against the RailRiders’ Opening Day man from a year ago, Bruce Billings (0-0, 1.80). The team returns home on Monday, April 20, to host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies). For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.