GARY | The RailCats open their season at home for the first time since 2010, and the last time it was this early in May was 2008.
Over that time, the 'Cats have opened in Fargo-Moorhead (2009), Grand Prairie (2011) and St. Paul (2012). The team is 1-3 in season openers at home and 4-7 overall in the first game of the year.
5:02 p.m. RailCats are wearing new batting practice unis to open 2013. They're maroon with green numbers and green batting helmets. The front of the red shirts have the RailCats' claw holding the RC baseball.
Lineups for Thursday's game:
3 Daniel Carroll DH
13 Stephen Douglas CF
7 David Espinosa 2B
39 Ian Gac 1B
25 Dennis Raben RF
24 Matt Forgatch LF
15 Mike Provencher 3B
6 Yasel Gomez SS
17 Jeremy Mayo C
RHP Joe Bisenius
36 Adam Klein LF
3 Mike Massaro RF
32 Cristian Guerrero DH
24 Craig Maddox C
20 Steve Liddle 1B
30 Brian Kolb 3B
5 Drew Martinez CF
7 Zac Mitchell SS
6 Chase Tucker 2B
LHP Alain Quijano
The RailCats have six lefties in the lineup against the right-handed Joe Bisenius: Klein, Massaro, Maddox, Liddle, Martinez, Mitchell. If you look at the lineup again, that means that every third batter is right-handed.
Official temperature to open the season is 66 degrees at 7:11.
No. 2 hitter Stephen Douglas doubles, followed by a walk to David Espinosa. A single between short and third scores Douglas. Dennis Raben takes a whack at the first pitch he sees and hits a homer to the right-field corner, also scoring Espinosa and Gac. Former RailCat Matt Forgatch singles. There's still only one out, Folks. Mike Provencher pops out to Craig Maddox behind the plate and Jeremy Mayo strikes out swinging. The Saltdogs sent all nine batters to the plate, but didn't technically bat around. Mid 1st inning: Saltdogs 4, RailCats 0
Adam Klein walks on five pitches. That's the Adam Klein fans are used to. Mike Massaro claps his hands as he comes into third base standing up. His first triple of the year is in his first at bat and is good to score Klein. Cristian Guerrero grounds out to short, but that'll easily score Massaro. Craig Maddox strikes out swinging, then Steve Liddle strikes out, the third strike is dropped and he's out at first. End 1st inning: Saltdogs 4, RailCats 2
Daniel Carroll opens the inning with a single. Stephen Douglas pops out to short and David Espinosa singles. Ian Gac hits a three-run homer, also scoring Carroll and Espinosa. Dennis Raben pops out to center and Matt Forgatch strikes out swinging. Mid 2nd inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 2.
Brian Kolb opens with a walk. Drew Martinez fouls off a couple before grounding out to second, Kolb reaches second base to put a runner in scoring position. Zac Mitchell singles to score Kolb. Chase Tucker is walked, as is Adam Klein. The bases are loaded and that's it for Joe Bisenius, who will be replaced by Moises Melendez. Mike Massaro promptly hits a bases-clearing double that scores Mitchell, Tucker and Klein and the RailCats are only a run behind. Cristian Guerrero strikes out looking and Craig Maddox grounds out to second, though the ball is bobbled a little giving the RailCats hope. End 2nd inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
Mike Provencher flies out to right and Yasel Gomez hits the ball trying to check his swing, which is easily fielded by Alain Quijano. Jeremy May strikes out looking, that's the third K by Quijano. Mid 3rd inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
After Steve Liddle flies out to deep left, Brian Kolb is walked. Kolb has already scored a run, but doesn't have an official at-bat yet. Drew Martinez strikes out and Kolb takes second on a wild pitch to Zac Mitchell. Mitchell then grounds out to second base. End 3rd inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
Daniel Carroll quickly grounds out to short. Stephen Douglas is walked and David Espinosa pops out to second. Douglas is taken out on the basepaths, that's a quick 1-2-3 inning. Mid 4th inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
Chase Tucker takes a quick 3-0 count, then strikes out looking. Adam Klein is hit by a pitch, he has yet to record an official out. Klein steals second. Mike Massaro is out at first unassisted. It's a close play at the plate and Greg Tagert begs to differ with the call. Klein is on third base. Cristian Guerrero walks to put runners on the corners. Craig Maddox grounds out to second base. End 4th inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
Ian Gac doubles. He's 3-for-3 and a triple away from the cycle. Dennis Raben strikes out swinging. That'll be it for Alain Quijano, who requested no pitch restriction. He'll leave having thrown 82 pitches, 53 for strikes. Righty Taylor Sewitt replaces Quijano. Sewitt strikes out the first batter he faces, then Mike Provencher flies out to right. Mid 5th inning: Saltdogs 7, RailCats 6
The Saltdogs are keeping Melendez in for his fourth inning on the mound. Steve Liddle flies out to center. Brian Kolb is walked again. Kolb steals second and Drew Martinez is walked on the next pitch. An error at second on a ball hit by Zac Mitchell scores Kolb as the tying run. Begin the RailCatting? Chase Tucker singles between short and third, scoring Martinez. Adam Klein records and at-bat as he grounds out to first. Mike Massaro grounds out to second. End 5th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 7
Yasel Gomez grounds out to second base. Estevan Uriegas and Morgan Coombs are throwing in the bullpen. Jeremy Mayo lines out to short. Zac Mitchell makes a diving grab at the edge of the grass and rockets the ball to first for the 1-2-3 inning. Mid 6th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 7
Cristian Guerrero pops out. The attendance is announced at 4,821. Craig Maddox grounds out to second for the third time tonight. Steve Liddle singles straight up the middle. Brian Kolb strikes out swinging, that's his first official at bat. End 6th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 7
Estevan Uriegas enters the game for Taylor Sewitt, who struck out one and retired five straight. Stephen Douglas strikes out swinging, David Espinosa singles up the middle and that's it for Uriegas, who is replaced by Morgan Coombs. Manager Greg Tagert said the other day that Coombs, a starter turned reliever, likes being a reliever because he doesn't have to chart pitches with all the other starters. Ian Gac grounds into a double play, Coombs had to throw just four pitches. Mid 7th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 7
New Lincoln pitcher is Stayton Thomas. Drew Martinez strikes out swinging before Zac Mitchell singles up the middle. Mitchell is 2-for-4 tonight, reaching three times. Chase Tucker flies out to center, too shallow to put Mitchell on second. Adam Klein singles to move Mitchell to third base. Mike Massaro flies out to center. End 7th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 7
Dennis Raben hits his second homer of the night, this one a solo bomb to tie the game. That's the first run for the Saltdogs since the second inning. Matt Forgatch grounds out to third. Mike Provencher flies out to right and Yasel Gomez strikes out. Except for the homer, that was a 1-2-3 inning. Mid 8th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
New Lincoln pitcher is PJ Zocci (pronounced SAW chee). Cristian Guerrero reaches first when the first baseman drops the ball. Aljay Davis will run for Guerrero. Davis steals second on the third pitch to Craig Maddox. Maddox breaks his bat on a hit to short, the throw to third trying to catch Davis is wild. Davis heads home and is caught at home plate. Ryan Babineau will run for Maddox. Steve Liddle is hit by a pitch, requiring some kind of umpires meeting apparently. The pitch is called not a hit, and Liddle returns to his at-bat. On the next pitch, Liddle strikes out looking. Brian Kolb is walked for the third time tonight. A wild pitch to Drew Martinez puts runners in scoring position. Martinez then pops out to center. End 8th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
Marco Gonzalez will start the ninth for the RailCats, Clay Zavada is throwing in the pen. Jeremy May grounds out to first. Daniel Carroll flies out to center. Clay Zavada will face the lefty Stephen Douglas. Zavada pitches a full count before striking out Douglas. Mid 9th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
Conor Spink is the new Lincoln pitcher to face Mitchell, Tucker and Klein. Mitchell grounds out to short. Chase Tucker is walked. Adam Klein flies out to center. Mike Massaro grounds back to the mound. The RailCats have left 12 runners stranded. End 9th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
Three up and three down as Clay Zavada strikes out two (he has three Ks so far) and entices a ground ball to second. Mid 10th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
New Lincoln pitcher is Eddie McKiernan, and new RailCats hitter is Aljay Davis. Davis checks his swing and strikes out. Ryan Babineau is also caught checking his swing, he begs to differ. Steve Liddle grounds out to second. End 10th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
Ian Durham will pitch for the RailCats. Matt Forgatch pops out on the first pitch he sees. Ian Gac grounds out to second and Dennis Raben strikes out looking. Mid 11th inning: RailCats 8, Saltdogs 8
McKiernan will remain on the mound for Lincoln. Brian Kolb strikes out looking and Drew Martinez grounds out to short. Zac Mitchell is walked. Chase Tucker reaches on a hit to the shortstop to roll around to the top of the lineup. Adam Klein hits a single up the middle to score Mitchell. The RailCats win in 11. FINAL: RailCats 9, Saltdogs 8
After the game
Adam Klein: "It feels great, not only to win but to win in the fashion that we won. Down two runs in the first then come back in the bottom of the first then to go down 7-2 and to come all the way back and to me it's really impressive and really dictating as to the character of this ballclub and something I expect from this ballclub, to come back from behind and to win late in the game. That's when games are won and lost."
Greg Tagert: "It's funny, in baseball more than any other sport opening night takes on a presence where it's worth six games or 10 games. It just has that feeling. ... I think that played a part with Alain's struggles early.
"I thought the club was outstanding to battle back. Massaro's big hit ... and of course the two guys at the bottom Mitchell and Tucker, it'll be pretty hard to top their debut."