Wednesday, August 17, 2016


NOW WALK IT OUT: The RailRiders posted their second walk-off win of the series against the Norfolk Tides on Tuesday night. Ben Gamel smacked the game-winner to right in the bottom of the ninth of the RailRiders' 3-2 triumph over the Tides. The RailRiders pace the IL North by 4.5 games with 20 to play.
MAGIC NUMBER: SWB's magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at 11. The RailRiders pace Lehigh Valley by four in the loss column for the division. However, the top three teams in the wild-card chase all reside in the North with Lehigh Valley (73-50) leading the way followed by Rochester (68-56) and Pawtucket (65-58). Playing just above .500 ball down the stretch at 11-9 would guarantee at least the wild-card spot for Al Pedrique's club.
DRAMATIC FLAIR: Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Mason Williams laced a leadoff single to right off reliever Garrett Cortright (0-1). Cesar Puello used a sacrifice bunt to push Williams to second. After a walk to pinch hitter Jake Cave, Gamel delivered a hard roller through the right side. Williams raced home and beat the throw from right fielder Dariel Alvarez for the thrilling finish.
HOLD ON: Jonathan Holder (2-0) took home the win in relief after firing two perfect frames with three strikeouts. He has fired more than an inning in five of his eight SWB appearances. Over his 13.1 innings, IL hitters have amassed just five hits (.111 BAA) and zero walks (0.38 WHIP) while whiffing 17 times (11.48/9 IP) against Holder. He has also stranded each of his five inherited runners at Triple-A this season.
SOL MAN: Donovan Solano lined his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot to right for a 1-0 third-inning lead. Norfolk scored a run in the fourth and seventh innings to claim a 2-1 advantage, but Solano came through again in the eighth. Rob Refsnyder worked a one-out walk and moved to second on a Chris Parmelee groundout. Solano knotted the score at 2-2 on his third hit of the night, a single to center that plated Refsnyder. Solano's three-hit performance was his third over his last seven games played. In 15 August games played he has slashed .389/.404/.593/.996. His 59 RBIs on the season trail only Aaron Judge (65) for the team lead. Solano's .302 average ranks sixth in the IL and his 133 hits trail only SWB alumnus/current Buffalo Bison Jesus Montero (137) and Gamel (133).
EIGHT IS GREAT: The RailRiders have a Triple-A best 78 victories on the season. Eight times they have won a game in walk-off fashion this season. Three of those thrilling conclusions have come thanks to Gamel. He delivered a 10th-inning walk-off single against Durham on July 22, a ninth-inning sac fly on Aug. 9 versus Lehigh Valley and yesterday's heroics. Gamel also played hero in arguably the most exciting walk-off of the RailRiders era when he sprinted for an inside-the-park homer against Pawtucket on Aug. 10, 2015. Gamel ranks among the IL's best in average (5th, .310), hits (2nd, 134), steals (5th, 19) and runs scored (1st, 71).
BACK AT IT: Refsnyder crushed a ground-rule double to right-center, walked and scored the game's tying run in the eighth. In five SWB games since his return from the bigs, Refsnyder has gone 6-for-14 (.429) with three RBIs and four walks for a .526 OBP. He has hit safely in 23 of his last 25 Triple-A games, slashing .380/.426/.522/.947 in that time. The run has shot his average up from .190 to .307.
BLACKJACK: The RailRiders' 4-0 win in Sunday's doubleheader opener marked their franchise-record 21st shutout of the season. SWB owns the most shutout wins in MiLB. The old SWB single-season record for shutouts, 16, was set by the 2009 SWB Yankees. The 21 shutouts also match the IL's modern-era record set by the 1975 Tidewater Tides and matched by the 2015 Rochester Red Wings. The RailRiders (2.90) are Triple-A's only team with a sub-3.00 ERA.
YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!: Norfolk manager Ron Johnson was ejected in the eighth inning. All three games on the series have been decided in walk-off fashion and the losing manager has been tossed in the eighth inning of each game.

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