O'FALLON, MO--The River City Rascals saw their modest three-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday night, losing the series opener to the Normal CornBelters by a score of 5-3 at CarShield Field. It was a fast-paced, back-and-forth game between the two teams in their first meeting of the season. The CornBelters took the win behind a two-run eighth inning and clutch pitching down the stretch.
Following a Dylan Woods double and steal of third base, the Rascals scored in the 3rd inning on an RBI fielder's choice from Stephen Kerr for the game's first run. Normal countered with a two-run double from Andrew Godbold in the fourth, but Gerrion Grim tied the game at two runs apiece with a sacrifice fly in the home half of the frame. Both teams scored a run in the fifth, the CornBelters on an RBI fielder's choice from Santiago Chirino and the Rascals on an RBI single from Mike Jurgella, following a Connor Oliver leadoff double.
The score remained tied at three until the top of the eighth, when the Belters took a 5-3 lead on a two-run single from Tanner Lubach. The Rascals left two runners on to close both the seventh and eighth innings, with Normal reliever Anthony Herrera (3-2) getting out of both jams unscathed. Normal closer Kuehl McEachern shut down the Rascals in order in the ninth for his third save.
Rascals starter Josh Kimborowicz went seven innings, allowing three runs, one earned, while walking two and striking out six. CornBelters starter Jacinto Garcia allowed three runs in six innings, walking one and striking out one. Rascals reliever Joe Iorio (2-1) took the loss, allowing the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning.
Normal second baseman Justin Fletcher finished the game with three hits.
The Rascals (14-7) look to even the series against the CornBelters (9-12) in the Game 2 tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CT. Left-hander Dan Ludwig will make the start for the Rascals.