09/03/2009 9:48 PM -
A three-run fifth inning proved to be the difference for the Kansas City T-Bones (1-1) tonight as they defeated the Gary SouthShore RailCats (1-1), 7-4, to even their best-of-five semifinal series at one game apiece.
After consecutive two-out errors by Kansas City put runners on first and third for Cristian Guerrero in the first inning, the RailCats designated hitter doubled to center field off Ryan Knippschild (1-0) to give Gary an early 2-0 lead. The T-Bones quickly answered, plating two runs on a two-out single by Neb Brown to tie the game against Garret Holleran (0-1).
The score remained even until an RBI single by Aharon Eggleston pushed the total to 3-2 in the fourth. Gary retook the lead in the top of the fifth, again using a two-out miscue by the Kansas City defense to extend the inning. Following an error by Brown that allowed Jay Pecci to reach and put runners at the corners, Steve Haake cleared the bases with a triple for a 4-3 RailCats advantage.
Knippschild was charged with four unearned runs on seven hits over seven and two-thirds innings in the victory. Kansas City committed four errors in the contest, just the fifth time this season that they had posted three or more in a game.
The T-Bones offense rallied immediately, scoring three times in the bottom of the fifth to take their final lead. An RBI double by Craig Hurba plated the first run, scoring Luis Terrero who reached on an infield single to start the inning. After an intentional walk to Brown, Kyle Heyne entered for Gary and struck out Jacob Blackwood before surrendering back-to-back RBI singles to Jeff Helps and Ryan Fox to push the score to 6-4.
Holleran suffered the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits over four and one-thirds innings.
Justin James entered for Knippschild with two outs in the eighth and finished off a scoreless frame. After an RBI single by Jim Fasano gave Kansas City an insurance run in their half of the eighth, Nate Cotton finished the contest with a perfect ninth to secure the save.
The two teams now head to Gary for the remainder of the series, beginning with game three tomorrow night. Cody McAllister gets the call for Kansas City opposite Derell McCall and the RailCats in the contest. First pitch is set for 7:00. To follow the action, tune into KXTR 1660 AM or click the listen live link on www.tbonesbaseball.com