O'FALLON, MO--The River City Rascals beat the Gateway Grizzlies 9-4 on Thursday night, sweeping the two-game series and winning their fifth straight overall in the process. The Rascals jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the second inning and never relinquished the lead. Braxton Martinez homered for the third straight game in the win, and JD Hearn finished the night with four hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle.
In the bottom of the first, Hearn hit a lead-off solo shot and Martinez later hit a three-run blast to left field. In the second, Trevor Achenbach delivered an RBI single and then Paul Kronenfeld hit another three-run homer to make it 8-0.
After the Grizzlies responded for four unanswered runs, including two RBI singles from Audie Afenir, they had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the eighth. Rascals reliever Joe Iorio entered the game and induced an inning-ending double play to thwart the threat. Achenbach added another RBI single in the bottom of the frame to to put the Rascals up 9-4, and Ryan Orr retired the side in order in the top of the ninth to seal the win.
Rascals starter Dan Ludwig (3-4) was solid, going 7 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on just four hits. He retired the game's first nine batters in order. Grizzlies starter Joe Hauser (7-8) took the loss, allowing eight runs on 12 hits in seven innings.
The Rascals (46-41) travel to Evansville tomorrow to begin a three-game weekend set against the Otters, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CT at historic Bosse Field. Josh Kimborowicz will get the start on the mound for the Rascals.