Baseball: Slammers head to road after notching 12-inning victory
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media June 12, 2014 11:02PM
Updated: July 14, 2014 6:38AM
The finale of the six-game homestand presented a couple opportunities to the Joliet Slammers.
They could finish the stretch with a 5-1 record to climb within two games of .500 and make the 500-mile bus ride to Washington, Pennsylvania, an easier trek to endure.
“Thankfully, we only have to make it one time,’’ designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer said before the series finale at Silver Cross Field.
The long trip that started late Thursday night should have been upbeat after Grant DeBruin lined a game-ending hit to the right-center field wall in the 12th inning to score Marquis Riley for a 7-6 walk-off win over Traverse City.
Moldenhauer homered with two outs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings tied 6-6. It was the fourth extra-inning contest for the Slammers in their past seven games.
Joliet (11-13) took two of three from the Beach Bums (11-13) after the teams split the doubleheader that ended late Wednesday night.
Traverse City scored three runs in the eighth and three in the ninth Thursday to take a 6-5 lead.
Right-hander Kody McFarland, who earned the first victory by a Joliet starter in his last outing, pitched into the eighth inning before he was pulled after he yielded four straight singles.
Ryan Connolly finished the eighth and Jordan Wellander allowed three runs in the ninth.
Joliet center fielder Chadwin Stang helped McFarland with back-to-back standout plays in the fourth.
Stang’s throw from the gap to second base got Taylor Wrenn as he tried to extend a leadoff single into a double. Stang then made a spectacular diving catch on a sinking line drive for the second out.
The Slammers batted around in the four-run second inning to give McFarland an early cushion.
Tyler Grogg was hit by a pitch after singles by Grant DeBruin, Stang and Max Casper had loaded the bases. Jose Garcia reached on an error to drive in a run and Riley delivered a two-RBI base hit.
Joliet went ahead 1-0 in the first, but lost a chance for a bigger inning with a baserunning miscue and a questionable forceout call at second on a double play.
Moldenhauer’s single drove in Garcia, who reached on an error, but Riley (base hit) was caught trying to go from first to third for the first out. Adam Giacalone then hit into an inning-ending double play.
After three weekend games against the Wild Things in Washington, the Slammers start a home series Tuesday against the Normal CornBelters.
Joliet has to improve its 1-8 road record in a hurry to get in the West Division playoff race. The Slammers play nine of their next 12 games away from Silver Cross Field.