Caldwell delivers RailRiders to Game 1 win

Yankees infielder hits two-run double in Governors' Cup Finals

Bruce Caldwell leads the International League with six RBIs in four postseason games. (Ken Inness/

By Andrew Battifarano / | September 12, 2018 1:17 AM

As rain drenched PNC Field and delayed play in the eighth inning of the opener in the Governors' Cup Finals, Bruce Caldwell and his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre teammates had a feeling it'd be a while before they'd get to finish the contest. When things resumed nearly three hours later, they made sure it was worth the wait.

Propelled by Caldwell's two-run double in a three-run fifth inning, the RailRiders grabbed a 3-2 victory over Durham to take Game 1 of the best-of-5 series. Top Yankees prospect Justus Sheffield (1-0) earned the win in relief, allowing one run on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in three innings.

Video: Caldwell's two-run double for the RailRiders

"We all had a feeling that [the delay] was going to be a little long," Caldwell said. "We just kind of hung out and we actually watched the Yankees game. And once we had a feeling that we were going to get going again, we just locked it back in, just did our normal little routine."

In the final game of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's semifinal series against Lehigh Valley, the 26-year-old found his power stroke when he delivered a 10th-inning grand slam, sealing a 7-2 win with his second hit of the postseason.

Gameday box score

With Tuesday's game scoreless headed to the fifth, the Bulls broke the ice in the top half when they plated a run on Jake Cronenworth's double play.

The RailRiders answered in the bottom half. Wilkin Castillo and Mark Payton delivered back-to-back singles on successive pitches. On the next offering from starter Ryan Weber (0-1), Caldwell smoked a towering drive to right-center field that was out of the reach of a diving Rob Refsnyder and scored both runs. 

Ryan McBroom brought in Caldwell three batters later and made it 3-1 with a soft single to left.

Caldwell, who played second base on Tuesday, said that driving in six runs over the last two contests has a lot to do with a mind-set that helped him compile a .745 OPS between Double-A Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I was just going up there with the same approach -- see the ball and hit it," he said. "Luckily, I'm getting pretty good pitches to put good swings on it. ... It's definitely a lot of fun when you do some stuff like that. It's definitely good."

Complete postseason coverage »

Domingo German allowed a hit while striking out five over three scoreless frames before turning the ball over to Sheffield. In his second relief outing of the playoffs and seventh this year,'s No. 27 overall prospect threw 28 of 42 pitches for strikes. The left-hander has yielded three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and a walk over four innings in the postseason. 

Refsnyder went deep in the seventh to pull the Bulls within one run, but Cale Coshow and Joe Harvey combined for a scoreless eighth before George Kontos worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to earn the save. 

After falling to the Bulls in last year's Championship Series, the RailRiders are two wins from flipping the script. Caldwell, who won the 2017 Pacific Coast League title with Memphis, would love nothing more than to claim another crown. 

MiLB include

"Absolutely, definitely, [the Bulls] being back and Scranton was here as well," Caldwell said. "If we pull out this series, it would be great, for sure." 

Game 2 is Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. ET when Nestor Cortes takes the ball for the RailRiders against Austin Pruitt. All of the games in the series will be played at PNC Field due to concerns with the Hurricane Florence.

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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