O'FALLON, Mo. -- The River City Rascals came within one out of a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday against the Gateway Grizzlies, but had to settle for a split. They won the opener 5-2 before dropping the night-cap 6-2. The second game lasted ten innings, meaning the teams played a combined 17 innings on the night. The Grizzlies snapped a five-game losing streak with their Game 2 victory.
In the opener, the Rascals took an early 5-0 lead, scoring three in the first and two more in the second. Kameron Esthay got the scoring started with an RBI single in the first, and Nolan Meadows added a two-run single later in the frame. In the second, Zach Lavy brought home a run on a fielder's choice, which was followed by Esthay's RBI double. The Grizzlies scored both of their runs in the fifth, on RBI singles from Gunnar Buhner and Shawon Dunston Jr., while neither team scored again from that point forward.
Rascals starter Alex Winkelman (5-2) earned the win, allowing just two runs in 5 1/3 innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. Jason Zgardowski picked up his third save. Grizzlies starter Dominic Topoozian (4-2) took the loss, allowing five runs, two earned, in five innings of work.
In Game 2, it was the Grizzlies who struck first, with Matt Brown hitting a two-out homer in the third after Rascals starting pitcher Brendan Feldmann retired the first eight hitters in order. The Rascals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, however, after back-to-back RBI singles from Meadows and Tanner Murphy. The score remained 2-1 until the top of the seventh, when Christian Funk hit a two-out, game-tying RBI single to ultimately send the contest to extra innings.
Neither team scored again until the tenth, when the Grizzlies pounced for four runs, highlighted by an RBI double from Jamey Smart and an RBI single from Andrew Daniel. The final twelve Rascals hitters were retired in order, including nine in a row on strikeouts.
Feldmann took a no-decision, allowing just one run on three hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Reliever Taylor Purus (0-1) took the loss. Grizzlies starter Reign Letkeman allowed two runs in four innings, but the Grizzlies bullpen combined for six scoreless innings while yielding just a single hit. Thomas Nicoll (1-2) earned the win, pitching the final two innings and striking out five of the six hitters he faced.
The Rascals (21-19) and Grizzlies (16-25) will play the rubbermatch of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT at CarShield Field. Taylor Ahearn is expected to take the mound for Rascals in his second start of the season.