Sauget, Ill. – The Gateway Grizzlies edged past the River City Rascals on Friday night at GCS Ballpark, as Gateway’s bullpen danced in and out of trouble numerous times to secure a 5-3 win. The Grizzlies have now won 12 of 15 and are above .500 for the first time since early June.
The Grizzlies relied on RHP Jordan Wellander, RHP Will LaMarche, and RHP Kevin Jefferis to secure the game’s final ten outs. In the process, Gateway’s bullpen worked through a pair of bases loaded jams and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning while holding on to the lead.
In the first, Gateway (22-21) got a run across as a struggling Josh Wright (2-1) as he issued a walk with the bases loaded. They tacked on a run to make it 2-0 on Ben Waldrip’s RBI single in the third. Wright exited the game after just 2.2 innings.
Craig Massoni extended the advantage to 4-0 with a two-run blast over the left field wall in the fourth. Meanwhile, Grizzlies righty Adam Eggnatz (3-0) kept the Rascals (20-21) off balance as he allowed just two runs through 5.2 innings. One run was unearned.
Eggnatz gave way to Wellander with the tying runs on base in the sixth. After loading the bases with a walk, Wellander got out of it by inducing a soft grounder from Griff Gordon.
In the seventh, it was Wellander who got into trouble of his own as River City loaded the bases with nobody out. After he struck out Mike Jurgella to get the first out, LaMarche entered the game and faced Josh Ludy. He got Ludy out on a pop up with the first pitch and proceeded to strike out Willi Martin to end the threat.
After at the Grizzlies tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, Jefferis came on looking for his fourth save of the season. With one out, he surrendered a solo shot to Alexi Colon to trim Gateway’s lead to 5-3.
An error by Josh Bunselmeyer then put Ludy at the dish as the tying run. Ludy grounded into a game ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Grizzlies and Rascals play a doubleheader beginning at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday evening. Gateway sends RHP Will Landsheft to the mound in Game 1 while RHP JaVaun West starts the second tilt.
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Saturday on 1400 AM KJFF, 1570 AM/94.3 FM WBGZ, and online at www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio
. Sam Levitt and Matt Sabados have the call.