Lawrenceville, Ga. - With brooms in hand and already armed 12-4 victory after the completion of Wednesday night's suspended game, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) polished off a series sweep of the Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta Braves) Thursday afternoon with a 3-1 victory at Coolray Field. The impromptu twinbill sweep concluded the RailRiders' eight-game road trip with a 5-3 ledger and extended SWB's current winnings streak to five games.
Already leading 8-0 courtesy of two home runs and four RBI by outfielder Zoilo Almonte the night before, when the suspended contest resumed Thursday morning it was Almonte leading the offensive charge once again. The RailRiders' home run leader answered Todd Cunningham's three-run shot off reliever Nik Turley with one of his own, capping a three-run fifth inning with a dinger to centerfield for his third home run of the game off Carlos Fisher.
SWB's Rob Refsnyder and Gwinnett's Edward Salcedo exchanged a pair of home runs in the final frame to bring to game to a final score of 12-4. Kanekoa Texeira (1-3) suffered the loss after the RailRiders tagged him for eight runs the night before. Turley (1-2) notched the win in relief for De Le Cruz, striking out five batters in four innings of work.
In the series finale, the RailRiders didn't disappoint. Corban Joseph led off the visiting second with a double to right field and took third on Carmen Angelini's ground ball to first. Taylor Dugas secured the early lead with a sacrifice fly to left that had the RailRiders off and running with a 1-0 lead.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre added to the advantage in the fifth, receiving a two-out walk by Refsnyder. A throwing error by G-Braves' catcher Christian Bethancourt moved Refsnyder to second before John Ryan Murphy brought the lead to two with his second hit of the game, and RBI base knock to center. Dugas capped a three-hit sixth inning for SWB with a run-scoring single to center that made the score 3-0.
Jim Miller and Edgmer Escalona bridged the RailRiders to the home seventh, where the Braves would get their only run. Elmer Reyes doubled to begin the frame and took third on Edward Salcedo's grounder to second. Reyes would score on Ozzie Martinez's sacrifice fly that brought the game to its final resting point of 3-1.
Switch-pitching Pat Venditte spun four innings and struck out two in the start, while Miller (5-2) spun two scoreless innings in relief for the win. Escalona (1) recorded the save, dancing around a run in the seventh. G-Braves starter Terry Doyle fired 4.2 innings in the loss.
The RailRiders begin a ten-game homestand Friday, July 25 when SWB welcomes in the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) for the first of four at 7:05 p.m. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will toss left-hander Matt Tracy (1-2, 3.57) while the Red Sox counter with the righty Anothny Ranaudo (11-4, 2.54). John Sadak and Aaron Berlin will have the call on radio with the pregame show beginning at 6:35 p.m. on NEPA Sports Radio -The GAME, Northeast PA's largest radio network: 100.7 FM, 1340 WYCK-AM, 1400 WICK-AM, 1440 WCDL-AM and 106.7 FM. For season ticket information, single-game tickets or to book a ballpark group outing, call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailirders.com.
OFF THE RAILS
Zoilo Almonte went 4-for-6 with 7 RBI and three home runs in Wednesday's suspended contest. The three home runs marked the most for an SWB player in a nine-inning contest, while the seven RBI marked a career-high for Almonte. Almonte's previous career-high in RBI occurred during a span with Double-A Trenton on August 16, 2012 when he went 3-for-6 with a pair of home runs, a triple, and three runs scored. The three home run game was also a first for Almonte in his professional career.
The series sweep made the RailRiders winners of 13 of their last 14 games at Coolray Field dating back to the 2011 season.
The RailRiders finished the eight-game road trip with a 5-3 record, concluding the road swing with a five game winning streak. SWB's last five-game road winning streak came during a six-game run surge from May 18-28 when SWB claimed the final three at Pawtucket (May 18-20) and the first three in Louisville (May 26-28).
John Ryan Murphy collected two more base hits in Thursday's series finale. The RailRiders everyday catcher extended his current hitting streak to a seasons-best five games. During that time, Murphy has gone 8-for-16 with four RBI. The five-game run has raised his contact clip 41 points from .200 to .241 during that time span.
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