MOOSIC, Pa. (Sept. 14, 2018) - Facing elimination and needing a win to keep the 2018 season alive, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders delivered a 5-2 win over the Durham Bulls on Friday night at PNC Field. The victory evened the best-of-five Governors' Cup Finals at 2-2 with a winner-take-all Game Five to come on Saturday.
Game Four was a home game for the Durham Bulls despite being played at PNC Field as the entire series was moved to PNC Field from Durham Bulls Athletic Park with Hurricane Florence making landfall in the Carolinas early Friday morning.
The RailRiders got on the board in the top of the first when Giovanny Urshela drove a solo home run into the bullpen in left field to hand the club an early 1-0 lead. Mike Ford singled and Ryan McBroom walked to put runners on first and second with two outs, but Zach Lee was able to escape the jam without further problems.
In the top of the third Shane Robinson greeted Lee with a leadoff double and advanced to third on a groundout by Urshela to second base. Ford worked a full count before lifting a sacrifice fly to right, plating Robinson and expanding the lead to 2-0.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre broke the game open in the top of the fifth when Mark Payton led off with a single against Jordan Harrison. Robinson laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Payton to second, and Urshela was intentionally walked to put two runners on base. Ford drove a 2-0 pitch from the southpaw Harrison over the wall in left to expand the gap to 5-0.
Ryan Bollinger was superb in getting the starting nod for the RailRiders in the do-or-die Game Four. The southpaw who spent last season pitching overseas in Germany threw 5.2 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, walking one and striking out six.
He was replaced in the sixth by Raynel Espinal, who completed the inning with a strikeout but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, he allowed a triple to Jake Cronenworth and walked Mac James. Kean Wong singled to plate Cronenworth and cut the deficit to 5-1.
The Bulls edged closer in the bottom of the eighth when Espinal allowed back-to-back-to-back singles to plate a run. With two on and one out Joe Harvey was summoned from the bullpen and escaped the jam without any further issues.
In the bottom of the ninth Nick Solak led off with a single against Harvey, but Wong popped out to catcher Francisco Diaz on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out. The right-hander then struck out Rob Refsnyder on three pitches and induced a groundout from Austin Meadows to close out the game.
Ford finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBIs and a run scored. The round-tripper was his second of the series, and the four RBIs was a new season-high for the slugger.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre completes the Governors' Cup Finals against Durham with a decisive, winner-take-all Game Five on Saturday afternoon at PNC Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. For tickets and more information call (570) 969-BALL or slide to www.swbrailriders.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.