The Gateway Grizzlies recorded a season-high in hits for the second straight night and cruised to a 9-2 victory against the River City Rascals Friday night at TR Hughes Ballpark.
One night after collecting 13 hits, Gateway (6-1) picked up 16 hits on Friday to notch their fourth straight win and move into first place all alone in the West Division.
Gateway raced out to a 3-0 first inning lead. Niko Vasquez brought in two runs on a double and Richard Seigel picked up an RBI single.
Madison Beaird extended the Grizzlies lead to 5-0 on a two-run single in the fourth inning.
Grizzlies’ rookie outfielder Blake Shepherd tripled with one out in the fifth inning and came around to score on an Xavier Macklin RBI double to make it 6-0.
After four scoreless innings, Gateway starting pitcher Aaron Newcomb (2-0) allowed the first run of the game in the fifth inning on a Johnny Morales RBI single for River City (4-3).
Newcomb scattered seven hits and allowed one run in his five innings of work, while collecting the win. He struck out one batter and walked two.
Gateway jumped on River City for three more runs on four hits in the sixth inning. Vasquez drove in his third run of the day on a single and Seigel hit a two-run home run, his first professionally, to make it 9-1 Grizzlies.
River City finished off the scoring in the ninth on an RBI groundout from Morales.
Vasquez finished 4-for-5 with three runs batted in while Beaird and Johnson both collected three hits.
Brett Higginbotham fired three scoreless innings of relief for Gateway.
The Grizzlies and Rascals continue their three-game series Saturday night. Right-hander Andrew Aizenstadt (0-1) will make the start for the Grizzlies. First pitch is set for 7:05.