GARY | The RailCats return to U.S. Steel Yard after a sweep of Winnipeg and having won five of their last eight games.
The 'Cats play just eight games at home in all of July: this four-game series against Fargo-Moorhead and four games against Sioux City on July 22-25.
The team is 17-9 at home this season and its current 12-games above .500 is a high mark for the season.
The 'Cats still sit in second place in the American Association's Central Division, two games back of Wichita. The Wingnuts and RailCats play for a final time this season Aug. 20-22 in Gary.
The RedHawks lead the North Division with a 30-21 record and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
It's mascot day for the RailCats as mascots from around Chicagoland are here to celebrate Rusty's birthday. Among them, Coop Boomer, the Valparaiso Crusader, a turtle and Rufus the Cardinal.
Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (30-21)
SS Zach Penprase
LF Mitch Eintertson
CF Nic Jackson
1B CJ Retherford
DH Tim Alberts
3B Ronnie Bourquin
2B Nick DelGuidice
C Todd Jennings
RF Buddy Sosnoskie
LHP Jake Laber (4-4, 2.81 ERA)
DH Adam Klein
CF Mike Massaro
RF Cristian Guerrero
C Ryan Babineau
1B Christian Vitters
3B Brian Kolb
LF Drew Martinez
SS Zac Mitchell
2B Danny Pulfer
LHP Ari Ronick (4-4, 4.98 ERA)
Zach Penprase flies out to left field on the first pitch of the game. Mitch Einertson flies out to center field. Nic Jackson walks on a 12-pitch at bat. CJ Retherford strikes out swinging. Mid 1st inning: RedHawks 0, RailCats 0.
Adam Klein flies out to center field and Mike Massaro flies out to left. Cristian Guerrero strikes out swinging. End 1st inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
Tim Alberts strikes out swinging. Ronnie Bourquin flies out to left field and Nick DelGuidice strikes out swinging, a dropped third strike thrown to first base. Mid 2nd inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
Ryan Babineau lines back to the mound. Christian Vitters strikes out swinging. Brian Kolb grounds out to short, the ball is played at the back of the dirt and just beats the runner to the mound. End 2nd inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
Todd Jennings strikes out, as does Buddy Sosnoskie, who gives Ronick five K in 2 2/3 innings. Zach Penprase is walked and Mitch Eintertson is hit by a pitch. Nic Jackson fouls the ball off five times before flying out to left field. Mid 3rd inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
Drew Martinez grounds out to first. Zac Mitchell has the first hit of the game up the middle. Danny Pulfer sneaks the ball past first base and Mitchell reaches third before a throw to put runners on the corners. Danny Pulfer is caught off base for the second out. Adam Klein grounds out to first base. End 3rd inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
CJ Retherford pops out to second. Tim Alberts lines out to third base. Ronnie Bourquin flies out to right field. Mid 4th inning: RailCats 0, RedHawks 0
Mike Massaro pops out to third base. Cristian Guerero grounds out to third base. Ryan Babineau lays down an infield single. Christian Vitters reaches on an error at second base. Brian Kolb sinlges to load the bases. Drew Martinez hits a triple to score all three runs -- Babineau, Vitters and Kolb -- unearned. Zac Mitchell strikes out. End 4th inning: RailCats 3, RedHawks 0
Nick DelGuidice strikes out, he's No. 6 for Ari Ronick. Todd Jennings is walked. Buddy Sosnoskie has a hit robbed by Danny Pulfer at second base. Zach Penprase flies out to shallow right field. Mid 5th inning: RailCats 3, RedHawks 0
Danny Pulfer flies out to center field. Adam Klein is walked. Mike Massaro singles to put two on. Cristian Guerrero doubles into left field to score Klein. Ryan Babineau hits a broken-bat single to score Massaro and Guerrero. Christian Vitters flies out to center field. Brian Kolb strikes out swinging. End 5th inning: RailCats 6, RedHawks 0
Mitch Einertson strikes out, that's 7 for Ari Ronick. Nick Jackson hits a single to second base, the ball is then tossed to the dugout, so with the error Jackson is on second. That breaks up the no hitter we weren't talking about. CJ Retherford pops out to short. Tim Alberts flies out to right field, no harm no foul on the error. Mid 6th inning: RailCats 6, RedHawks 0
The RedHawks bring in new pitcher Mackenzie King. Drew Martinez strikes out swinging. Zac Mitchell grounds out to first. Danny Pulfer singles to keep the inning alive. Adam Klein is walked. Mike Massaro hits a high pop fly misjudged by the first baseman; it's called an infield single and Pulfer scores. Cristian Guerrero grounds out to first. End 6th inning: RailCats 7, RedHawks 0
Ronnie Bourquin flies out to left, a ball that sends Adam Klein nearly to the warning track. Nick DelGuidice pops out to first base. Todd Jennings singles, that'll bring some movement in the RailCats bullpen. Buddy Sosnoskie strikes out looking. 7th-inning stretch: RailCats 7, RedHawks 0
Ryan Babineau flies out to center. Christian Vitters flies out to right. Brian Kolb doubles to keep the inning alive. Drew Martinez singles to score Kolb. That's the fourth RBI for Martinez. Zac Mitchell grounds out to second. End 7th inning: RailCats 8, RedHawks 0.
Zach Penprase opens with a double. Mitch Einertson grounds out to short. Nic Jackson is walked and Penprase is on third on a passed ball. Ari Ronick leaves with 128 pitches and 82 strikes. Kyle Lindquist is the new pitcher. CJ Retherford singles to score Penprase. Tim Alberts pops out foul to second baseman Danny Pulfer. Ronnie Bourquin grounds out to short. Mid 8th inning: RailCats 8, RedHawks 1
Danny Pulfer hits an infield single and takes second on a throwing error. Adam Klein strikes out, but not before a foul ball breaks a lower window below a radio booth. Mike Massaro pops out and Cristian Guerrero strikes out. End 8th inning: RailCats 8, RedHawks 1
Nick DelGuidice grounds out to short. Todd Jennings also grounds out to short. Buddy Sosnoskie grounds down the first-base line, the ball is picked up by Kyle Lindquist and Sosnoskie is tagged out. Final: RailCats 8, RedHawks 1
After the game:
"It feels good, it actually feels good. I got a second wind there later in the game. I didn't know how many pitches I'd thrown, but I'll be sore tomorrow."
"I think I was keeping the ball down better than in the last couple games and I threw a few more inside fast balls. Really, there were a few balls that the guys on my team made great plays around the infield and the outfield."
"It's been kind of one step forward, one step back process this year. I'd say three outings ago the mechanics felt most like they did when I was a starter early in my career, and I was able to keep that tonight. The biggest thing is my body took a while to bounce back, it took four or five outings. Not just my arms, but my legs, my back, that process is starting to come back."
"Sometimes the first inning isn't a full indicator of how a guy is going to pitch, but (Ronick) looked extremely good in that first inning and even tougher against that lineup. Against a tough RedHawk lineup that has been playing so well, that even magnifies it. He was really in command. What happens when you're like that, you get a couple great plays from the infield and the outfield ... the credit goes back to Ari, he was in control the entire game and we were able, not to be overlooked Jake Laber deserves a little better fate, the infield single, an error and all of a sudden a Kolb base hit to keep the inning going and Drew Martinez with the big hit."
"It was one of those games that had the feel of a lot of zeroes. A couple breaks went our way, and Drew gets a lot of credit for the big blow and we were able to add on another inning which was big. Ari just took over from there. I'm going to kick myself, because (pitching coach) Jake (Upwood) said maybe we ought to get him out of there in the seventh, and maybe I was a little selfish, I thought if he had a short inning in the eighth, we're going to run him out there for the ninth, that's how much in command he looked."
"We expected (inconsistencies from Ronick) coming in, because if you remember the circumstances during spring training, he was really brought in here because Matsuka and McSwain were late arrivers and we didn't know what we were going to do. Here was a guy out here who had success as a starting pitcher, but for the bulk of his career had been juggled in different play in the Atlantic League, had been converted to a reliever, a left-handed specialist, dropped down to a side-arm pitcher, a lot of different things to try in his career to try to get him to the big leagues. If I remember correctly, he arrived on a Monday and opened our exhibition season against Schaumburg, and that was the first time we'd seen him. We didn't see him in a bullpen, or throw much. Each time he goes out there, he shows some flashes of being very, very good. There's been some inconsistency, but I think that comes with him getting back to being as comfortable as possible every time out."