JOLIET, IL--The River City Rascals capped off a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Joliet Slammers with a go-ahead home run from Mike Jurgella in the top of the ninth inning of Game 1 of their Frontier League Division Series matchup on Tuesday night at Route 66 Stadium. The game was a tight, well-defended pitcher's duel throughout, but the Rascals came out on top when the dust settled after the playoff opener.
The Slammers got off to a good start, getting three hits in the first inning, including an RBI single from Justin Garcia. That was their only run of the night, however, as the Rascals tied the game in the fifth after a lead-off triple from Kevin Suarez and a sacrifice fly from JD Hearn. They took their first lead of the game on Jurgella's shot to right to lead-off the ninth. Cody Mincey retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two, to seal the win.
Hector Hernandez was brilliant for the Rascals, allowing just one run in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six without issuing a walk. Jason Zgardowski (1-0) took the win, going 1 1/3 innings and allowing just a single baserunner.
Slammers pitcher Liam O'Sullivan (0-1) took the hard-luck loss, allowing two runs in eight innings of work. He walked one and struck out five.
The Rascals look to take the commanding 2-0 series lead over the Slammers in Game 2 of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm CT. Jonny Ortiz will get the start for the Rascals, and will be opposed by rookie Daren Osby for Joliet.