SAUGET, IL--The River City Rascals got out to an early lead and never relinquished it in their series opening 6-5 win over the crosstown rival Gateway Grizzlies on Tuesday night at GCS Ballpark. Mike Jurgella led the Rascals with three runs driven in on the night, including a two-run home run in the second inning.
The Rascals jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, scoring two in the first inning and three in the second. In the first inning, former Grizzly Zach Lavy had an RBI triple and later scored himself on a balk. In the second inning, JD Hearn hit an RBI ground-rule double to make it 3-0 before Jurgella's two-run shot put the Rascals up five.
The Grizzlies countered with an RBI fielder's choice in the fourth from Cody Livesay and an RBI single from Trae Santos in the fifth. After a brief rain delay entering the sixth, the Grizzlies added another run on an RBI single from Blake Brown to make the score 5-3.
Jurgella added a crucial RBI single in the eighth to put the Rascals up three, in what would end up being the game's deciding run.
Tanner Wilt and Joe Iorio combined to shut-down the Grizzlies in order in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, setting up Cody Mincey for the save in the ninth. Mincy allowed a two-run homer to Santos to make it a one run game but recovered to strike out the next two hitters and seal the win.
Rascals starter Hector Hernandez (2-0) earned his second consecutive win, going five innings and allowing two runs, while striking out 5 and walking four. Grizzlies starter Alec Kisina (2-2) took the loss, allowing five earned runs in five innings, while walking three and striking out nine.
The Rascals (10-5) and Grizzlies (7-9) go to battle in Game 2 of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm CT. Josh Kimborowicz is expected to make the start for the Rascals, looking for his first win of 2018.