PawSox Lose When RailRiders Score 5 Runs in the 9th

PawSox news release…

(Pawtucket, RI) – Zelous Wheeler’s go-ahead two-run single in the ninth capped a five-run rally by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, four of which came with two outs against closer Heath Hembree as the RailRiders came from behind to defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 6-5, Sunday afternoon in front of 8,457 fans at McCoy Stadium to win their third straight in the four-game series. 

Trailing 5-1 entering the ninth, Scranton sent ten batters to the plate against relievers Brayan Villarreal and Hembree (0-1) with three collecting hits and four getting walks.  Wheeler’s bases-loaded hit scored Rob Refsnyder with the tying run and then Zoilo Almonte with the winning tally, as Almonte just slid safely under the tag of catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

With the loss, Pawtucket (71-58) fell 3.0 games behind first-place Syracuse in the North Division, pending the result of the Chiefs scheduled Sunday night doubleheader at Rochester.  The squad is now 2.0 games ahead of Rochester and Buffalo in the IL wildcard standings, with each team still having games to play Sunday evening.

In the ninth, Villarreal retired the first batter before allowing walks to Taylor Dugas and Carmen Angelini with an RBI double by Corban Joseph sandwiched in between that made the score 5-2.  Hembree then entered and fanned Jose Pirela for the second out before permitting the next four to reach base. 

Refsnyder singled before Almonte and Kyle Roller each walked, with Roller’s base on balls making the score 5-4 and setting the stage for Wheeler’s game-winning hit.

Pawtucket’s offense came on the strength of a two-run home run in the fourth by Bryce Brentz (10) and a three-run shot in the sixth by Garin Cecchini (7), each against Scranton starter Matt Tracy.  Brentz followed Alex Hassan’s leadoff single in the fourth with a two-run blast to left, his second homer in as many games. 

Cecchini’s three-run shot came with two outs in the sixth into the right-field bullpen, scoring both Brentz (single) and Carlos Rivero (walk).  Tyler Webb (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the win for Scranton while Edgmer Escalona pitched around a Mookie Betts double in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season and second of the series.

PawSox spot-starter Ryan Verdugo lasted the first four innings and allowed one run on four hits, as Dugas lined an RBI triple to right in the second.  Jose Valdez, just activated before the contest, tossed three scoreless frames behind Verdugo by scattering four hits and a walk while recording two double play grounders.

The finale of the four-game set is slated for a 7:05 pm first pitch on Monday night, as Pawtucket tries to avoid being swept for the first time in a four-game home series.  The PawSox are slated to start left-hander Edwin Escobar (0-0, 1.89) while Scranton will counter with southpaw Manny Banuelos (1-0, 1.80).