Baseball: River City Rascals finish series sweep of ThunderBolts
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 5, 2014 10:12PM
Updated: July 7, 2014 6:32AM
Losing four key players in a two-week span is bound to take its toll on a team.
With outfielders Ryan McIntyre and Evan Button out of the lineup because of injuries and pitchers Markus Solbach and Zak Wasserman moving on to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, the Windy City ThunderBolts are struggling to re-find their footing.
Windy City’s woes continued Thursday night as the River City Rascals completed a three-game sweep with a 6-3 win at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Things got worse for the T-Bolts (8-10) in the ninth. Windy City closer Daniel Carela, who earlier in the inning gave up his first run in nine appearances on a home run by Zach Kometani, fell to the ground after delivering a 3-and-0 fastball to Eric Williams and had to leave the game with an apparent groin injury.
Eli Anderson, a product of Northern Illinois and New Trier, made his pro debut, getting the start on the mound for the T-Bolts.
Anderson’s career couldn’t have started any better as he struck out the side in the first. After a spotless second, though, River City (13-5) pushed across three runs against him in the third.
The Rascals put together four straight hits to open the inning, beginning with Brian Hanson’s bunt single. Kometaini produced an RBI single, Hector Crespo a run-scoring double and Taylor Ard a sacrifice fly.
The T-Bolts got a run back in the bottom of the frame as Andrew Brauer and Jon Mestas (2-for-4) opened the inning with consecutive singles and Brauer scored on Mike McGuckin’s sacrifice fly.
It was the first pro RBI for McGuckin, but the Windy City catcher followed that with a costly defensive miscue in the fourth.
River City had the bases loaded and no outs when Kometani sent a bouncer to Mestas at third. Mestas fired home for the forceout, but McGuckin’s throw to first in an attempt for a double play sailed down the right-field line, allowing two runs to score, giving the Rascals a 5-1 lead.
Anderson lasted six innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on nine hits and one walk while striking out four.
Windy City made it a game in the eighth, chasing River City starter Ray Hanson after McGuckin walked and Ty Stetson singled.
Mike Torres singled off reliever Patrick Crider to drive in McGuckin and Kyle Robinson’s base hit off Nick Kennedy scored Stetson to make it 5-3, but Kennedy got Max White to bounce into an inning-ending fielder’s choice with the potential tying runs on base.
The T-Bolts got the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but Gabriel Shaw got Stetson to foul out to the catcher to earn his seventh save.