Adam Klein’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning capped a wild Opening Night game as the RailCats defeated Lincoln 9-8 in front of a crowd of 4,821 at U. S. Steel Yard.
With two out and the bases empty in the 11th, Zac Mitchell walked on four pitches. Chase Tucker followed with an infield single to move Mitchell into scoring position. On a 2-1 pitch, Klein roped a single to center in front of Lincoln’s Stephen Douglas, scoring Mitchell with the winning run.
RailCats starter Alain Quijano struggled in the first inning allowing an RBI single to Ian Gac then a three-run home run to Dennis Raben on the next pitch to give the Saltdogs a 4-0 lead.
The RailCats responded in their half of the first. Adam Klein started the inning with a five pitch walk then came in to score when Mike Massaro smashed his American Association record 29th triple into the alley in right-center. Massaro scored on Cristian Guerrero’s ground out to cut the lead in half, 4-2, after the first inning.
Quijano’s struggles continued in the second inning as he surrendered his second three-run homer of the evening, this one to Ian Gac. Daniel Carrol started the inning with a base hit to center and moved to second on David Espinosa’s flair base hit to right. Gac followed by crushing a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left to give Lincoln a 7-2 lead.
The RailCats rallied back again in the second inning, scoring four runs and chasing starter Joe Bisenius after 1 ? innings. Brian Kolb began the inning with a four pitch walk and stood at second with one out when Zac Mitchell drove him in with a base hit through the middle. Then the wheels came off for the former major leaguer, Bisenius, who walked Chase Tucker and Adam Klein to load the bases before being pulled for reliever Moises Melendez.
Mike Massaro greeted the reliever Melendez with a rocket double into the corner in right center, clearing the bases and bringing the RailCats within one run at 7-6.
Quijano exited the game after 4 ? innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits. Taylor Sewitt came on in relief and in his professional debut he threw 1 ? hitless innings with one strikeout.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning. Kolb and Drew Martinez drew back-to-back walks before Mitchell reached on an error on Saldogs’ second baseman David Espinosa, allowing Kolb to score the tying run. The next batter, Tucker, delivered a ground ball single through the left side of the infield to give the ‘Cats their first lead of the season.
The Saltdogs tied the game in the top of the 8th when Dennis Raben clobbered his second homerun of the clearing the seats in right to tie the game at eight and set up the extra-inning heroics from Klein.
The series continues on Friday night at 7:10 p.m.