O’FALLON, Mo. — The River City Rascals won their first game in 10 days on Tuesday night 2-1 over the Joliet Slammers. The Rascals (20-18) relied on a two-run seventh inning and brilliant pitching performance by Tim Koons to down the Slammers (23-17) in the series opener at CarShield Field.
Tim Koons, pitching in his first game since being activated from the 7-day injured list, went 7.2 innings, struck out eight Slammers and allowed only one run. Koons had not thrown since June 15 in Normal when he gave up five runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings of work. For the first time in a season marred by extended time on the injured list, the three-year Rascal pitched into the eighth inning.
The Slammers threatened in the first and then went down in order the next two innings, including three strikeouts in the second. However, in the fourth they struck. A leadoff single by Alfredo Rodriguez and a double by Carter Bell separated by Koons’ fifth strikeout of the game gave the Slammers runners on second and third with one out. The next man up, Marco Flores, drove in Rodriguez for his 33rd RBI of the season — fifth most in the Frontier League, but only third most on his own team. Joliet then unsuccessfully bunted home Bell and bounced out to shortstop to leave the Rascals only trailing 1-0.
In the seventh, Clint Freeman reached first base with two outs after he hit into a fielder’s choice that erased Kyle Gaedele at second. The next batter Steve Pascual singled, and his successor, Alexi Colon, walked to load the bases with two outs for Mike Jurgella. Jurgella singled on a 2-2 pitch to score Freeman and Pascual and give the Rascals a 2-1 lead.
Koons was pulled in the top of the eighth after giving up a two-out single to Bell. Manager Steve Brook called on Michael Gunn for the lefty-lefty matchup with Marco Flores. Gunn did the job of a specialist to perfection, striking out Flores on four pitches — all strikes.
Closer Zac Treece go the call in the ninth to face the bottom of the order. Treece struck out the first two batters he faced and got the final out to groundout back to him. It was Treece’s eighth save of the season, his first and even first save chance since June 15. He also padded his team lead in strikeouts by running that total to 40 in just 22 innings. The next closest Rascal, Zeb Sneed, has 32, but has thrown 47.2 innings.
Pascual and DH Willi Martin were the only two Rascals to have multi-hit games. Both went 2-for-3. Pascual started at shortstop in his first game for River City after being released by the Gateway Grizzlies June 25. The 5-foot-8 middle infielder went just 3-for-20 without an extra-base hit in 14 games for the Grizzlies this season.
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