The Gateway Grizzlies came back late in both games of their doubleheader against the New Jersey Jackals on Sunday at Yogi Berra Stadium, erasing a four-run deficit for an 8-7 win in game one, and a two-run deficit in the nightcap for a 6-2 victory. With the sweep, the Grizzlies are now 8-1 in 2022.
In the first game, Gateway took leads in the second and third inning, going ahead 1-0 on a Clint Freeman sacrifice fly, then 3-1 on a fielder’s choice and error off the bat of Jay Prather and an RBI single by Abdiel Diaz. But the Jackals rallied both times, as Josh Rehwaldt homered to knot the score at 1-1, and then the Jackals batted around to score six runs in the bottom of the third against Matt Mulhearn, taking a 7-3 lead that held until the top of the sixth.
The Grizzlies would then make their first comeback of the day. With two outs, the bases empty, and an 0-2 count on Cam Touchette, the rookie reached on an infield single, and Andrew Penner walked to set up Trevor Achenbach, who promptly made it a 7-6 game with a three-run home run. Isaac Benard then stepped up and tied the game with a home run of his own to right field, making it 7-7.
Then, after Colton Easterwood (1-0) got out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth, the Grizzlies loaded the bases with two outs for Achenbach again, and he drew a bases-loaded walk from Juan Perez (0-1) to put Gateway ahead 8-7. John Murphy then pitched a scoreless bottom half of the inning for the save, as the Grizzlies clinched the series.
In the second contest, the Jackals took the early lead in the first inning against Sam Gardner (1-0), as Alfredo Marte hit a two-run homer to put the home team up 2-0. On the mound, former Grizzlie Jorge Tavarez (2-1) vexed the current Grizzlies lineup, striking out eight batters in his first five innings of work while holding Gateway off the board on just four singles.
But again, in the sixth, the tide turned in the Grizzlies’ favor. Achenbach led off with an infield hit, and after Benard moved him to second on a groundout, Jose Rosario put Gateway on the board with an RBI double off his former teammate for a 2-1 score. Prather followed in kind with an RBI single off the glove of the diving shortstop Edward Salcedo to tie the game at 2-2.
In the seventh, Tavarez remained in the game, and after a strikeout led off the inning, the Grizzlies pounced again. Penner tripled down the right field line, and later, with the bases loaded, Rosario came through again with a go-ahead, two-run double down the left field line to make the score 4-2. Prather followed yet again with a two-run double of his own for a 6-2 lead, and Carson Cupo shut the Jackals down in the bottom half to secure the remarkable series sweep.
Now 8-1 on the season and in first place in the Frontier League’s West Division, the Grizzlies’ long road trip continues on Tuesday when they make their way across the border to Canada for a pair of series on foreign soil, beginning on Tuesday with the first game of a three-game set against Les Capitales de Québec. First pitch at Stade Canac is set for 6:05 p.m. CDT.