SAUGET, Ill. -- The River City Rascals again squandered a first inning lead, dropping the middle game of their series 7-3 to the Gateway Grizzlies on Wednesday afternoon from GCS Ballpark. The Grizzlies hit two home runs in the deciding fifth inning to take the 2-0 series lead, handing the Rascals their season-worst third consecutive loss in the process.
The Rascals got back-to-back hits to lead off the game, and took advantage with a sacrifice fly from Kameron Esthay. After the Grizzlies countered with an RBI single from Jamey Smart in the bottom of the frame, the Rascals re-gained the lead after JD Hearn tripled to lead-off the second inning and came in to score on an RBI groundout from Andrew Penner.
The Grizzlies brought home five in the fifth, thanks to a three-run blast from Shawon Dunston Jr., which was followed by a two-run shot from Connor Owings. The Rascals brought in a run on a Braxton Martinez sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the Grizzlies added an insurance run on Ryan Kirby's RBI double in the eighth.
Rascals starter Alec Byrd (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) in six innings with four walks and nine strikeouts. Grizzlies starter Cody Luther (2-1) garnered the win, allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
The Rascals (16-13) look to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Grizzlies (14-15) tomorrow night, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. CDT. Alex Winkelman is expected to take the mound for the Rascals in the finale.