O’FALLON, Mo. — The River City Rascals rebounded well from their series-opening loss to the Florence Freedom to take Game 2 8-1. The Rascals (13-10) built a quick lead and Florence (9-14) could not respond.
Danny Canela got things started in the bottom of the first by hitting a ball into the Rascals bullpen beyond the right field wall with Curran Redal and Josh Ludy on base to give the Rascals a 3-0 lead.
The top of the order continued their regin of terror on Florence pitching in the third inning. This time left fielder Brian Hansen got on with a single and stole second. Ludy picked him up with a double into the right field corner. Canela, proving he is more than just a home run hitter, then advanced Ludy to third with a ground ball to the right side, where he was driven in by a sacrifice fly by Taylor Ard to push the lead to 5-0.
Starter Tim Koons didn’t waste his run support. A day after Rascals pitchers gave up 11 runs — with a little help from some truly terrible defense — Koons held the Freedom to just 1 run and 3 hits in 6.2 innings while striking out 5. The only run Koons surrendered came on a solo home run in the fourth inning by Steve Carillo that hit off the Stan Musial Porch in right field.
The Rascals tacked on three more insurance runs in their last two turns to hit. In the seventh, Josh Silver, who went 3-for-4 on the day, scored from third when a pickoff attempt got past the first baseman. In the eighth, River City sent eight batters to the plate and scored two. Saxon Butler and Silver drove in Canela and Ard respectively with singles to right field.
To further prove the fickle nature of pitching, Zeb Sneed, who gave up 5 runs without recording a single out less than 24 hours before, pitched a perfect ninth inning and looked like a completely different pitcher — and not just because he shaved his mustache off in the short time between outings.
The Rascal relievers — Derek Cape, Anthony Ferrara, and Sneed — did not give up a hit in 2.1 innings of work.
Perhaps the only downside of Wednesday’s victory was the ending of Taylor Ard’s hitting streak. Ard came into the game with a 10-game hitting streak, and although he had an RBI and a run scored he failed to get a hit.
Florence pitcher Coleman Stephens got the loss. Stephens pitched 7.1 innings giving up 11 hits and 7 runs, 5 earned. He also struck out 4 Rascals without walking anyone.
In the rubber match on Thursday, Tommy Organ (1-0, 2.61) will take the mound for the home team, while Casey Henn (1-4, 3.95) will look to make it a happy bus ride back to Kentucky for him and his teammates. First pitch will be at the standard 6:35 p.m start time. If you can’t make it to T.R. Hughes Ballpark you can listen on TalkStl.com.
Florence 000 100 000 – 1 3 2
River City 302 000 12x – 8 13 1