PAWTUCKET, R.I. (September 2, 2018) - Baseball seasons are long. Games in April and May don't seem to matter in the larger scope of the season as teams grind through the heat of the summer. Yet with only one game awaiting them Monday, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders used a 3-2 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox -- and some help around the rest of the International League - to secure the IL Wild Card.
Entering the day, SWB needed Toledo to beat Columbus and Louisville to beat Indianapolis in order to give them a chance for a win-and-get-in victory. With Toledo knocking off Columbus 10-5 earlier in the afternoon, and Louisville gradually growing a lead en route to a 10-2 win over the Indians, that left the onus on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It was a beautiful Sunday night at McCoy Stadium, and before a crowd of 10,769 the PawSox jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the back of a pair of two-out RBI singles in the 4th inning off Adonis Rosa.
Entering the top of the 5th inning, the RailRiders offense had been held without a baserunner. It had been 12-up and 12-down off Josh A. Smith before SWB caught a break with a strikeout/wild pitch allowing the first man of the night to reach with one out in the inning. Bruce Caldwell immediately followed with a single to put runners at the corners. With two outs, Devyn Bolasky continued his clutch hitting and delivered a single to plate Zack Zehner to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
The next man up was Wilkin Castillo who hit a towering fly ball into the setting night sky. Cole Sturgeon never saw the ball off the bat and as he charged in toward the infield it landed behind him plating both runners and giving Castillo his first triple in affiliated ball since 9/1/2012 when he was playing for Triple-A Colorado Springs. The sequence turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead that the RailRiders would not relinquish.
Pawtucket threatened in the 9th inning with a pair of baserunners and only one out, but Raynel Espinal recorded the final two outs to punch Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's playoff ticket.
The 2018 regular season concludes Monday afternoon with a 1:35 PM matinee from McCoy Stadium. Both team's starting pitchers are TBA following Sunday's game. Pregame coverage with Adam Marco and Adam Giardino begins at 1:05 p.m. The 2018 International League postseason begins Wednesday night at PNC Field against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. For information on tickets and game times, please head to www.swbrailriders.com.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Record:
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.