Rosemont, Ill. – An eighth-inning, two-out, Dalton Blaser triple and a wild pitch from Cleburne reliever Jesus Sanchez propelled the Dogs to a 5-4 victory over the Railroaders Saturday night in Rosemont.
The league-leading 45th wild pitch of the year issued by Railroader pitching proved to be a costly one, as it allowed Blaser to cruise home with the eventual winning run just one inning after Cleburne had come all the way back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game.
The Dogs lifted the lid on the game thanks to an RBI ground out by Treysen Vavra in the bottom of the first. Vavra plated Chicago center fielder Kenny Wilson who led off the inning with his first hit in a Dogs uniform, and later stole second.
Chicago would add to their lead thanks to an Edwin Arroyo three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. The long ball was just the second of the year for Arroyo and extended his hit streak to a season-long 11 games.
Chicago starter Michael Wagner cruised through his first six innings scoreless, before running into a stumbling block for the first time in the top of the seventh. At 88 pitches to begin the frame, Wagner walked Levi Scott, and then allowed a single to Rafael Palmeiro and another walk of Chase Simpson to load the bases.
Jared Carkuff then entered the game for the Dogs, and coaxed a sacrifice fly from Cameron Monger for the second out of the frame. With the score 4-1 in favor of Chicago, a costly Vavra error on a ground ball from Angel Rosa scored two more Railroader runs. Cleburne catch Blake Grant-Parks then tied the game with an opposite field double.
Only one of the runs charged to Wagner in the inning was earned. The Chicago right-hander ultimately worked six and one-third innings, allowing one earned run on two hits, while striking out a season-high nine. Wagner received a no-decision.
After the wild pitch allowed Blaser to score and give the Dogs a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Grover entered the game for Chicago in the top of the ninth for his first save chance of the year. Grover worked a one-two-three frame, striking out two. Chicago pitching as a whole struck out 14 Railroader batters in the game.
Cleburne start Jared Mortensen, who entered the game with the second best earned run average in the league at 1.98, took the loss, allowing four earned runs in six innings, while striking out six and walking three. The loss drops the Railroader right-hander to 2-3 on the season.
The two teams will conclude their first ever series match-up with a 1:05 first pitch Sunday at Impact Field. Josh Goossen-Brown gets the start for the Dogs, while Josh Hodges makes the start for Cleburne.
The game will be broadcast at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/ with the Crowne Plaza Pregame Show beginning at 12:45 p.m.