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GARY — RailCats manager Greg Tagert shuffled the lineup for Thursday's American Association semifinal Game 2 against Wichita looking for some offensive help.

The RailCats struck out 11 times in the first game of the best-of-five series on Wednesday, and on Thursday, Randy Santiesteban, Cole Fabio, Reggie Wilson, Jose Gonzalez and Joey Havrilak were on the lineup card.

"We've got a little different look tonight to see if we can get some offense," Tagert said. "For me it's also a chance to get everyone involved. This group is thrilled to be playing, I don't get a sense that they're just complacent being here, but as a manager, with this ballclub that we've had and involvement we've had from everyone and I did want to make sure that everyone is involved in this postseason."

Prior to Santiesteban's injury that kept him out of the final 21 games of the regular season, he had a personal-best 17-game on-base streak during which he hit .386 with five extra-base hits.

The RailCats also typically trade catchers with two defensive-minded backstops.

"We'd have done this regardless of (Wednesday) night's outcome," Tagert said.

Through the first seven innings on Thursday, the 'Cats picked up hits from Santiesteban, Wilson and a hit with a walk from Fabio. Alex Crosby had three hits through five innings, including a home run.

The 'Cats were also bitten early by the strikeout bug, with Wichita starter Alex Boshers fanning seven through his five-inning stint.

During the regular season, the RailCats finished second in the league in defense with the second-fewest errors as a team.

The defense is a source of pride for Tagert, then his team committed two errors in the first game and another in Game 2, leading to an unearned run in a four-run third inning. The RailCats lost 5-2.

"It's an impressive year defensively, and I think if you look at some of the shortcomings of the club statistically, I think that's indicative of where we're at (in the postseason)," Tagert said.


Sports Director

Hillary has covered prep, pro and college sports -- and even a Dixie Baseball World Series -- for newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995.