O’FALLON, Mo. – Jimmy Kerrigan and Mike Jurgella combined for eight of the Rascals (15-12) 14 hits and helped their team complete a three game sweep over the Windy City ThunderBolts (16-11),10-4, Sunday evening at CarShield Field.
The sweep gives the Rascals their longest winning streak of the year at four games and they are now three games over .500 for the first time since the 2016 campaign.
On the mound for Windy City was their team leader in wins, Zac Westcott (4-1), and he struggled to miss bats in the opening frame and allowed back-to-back singles from Jason Merjano and Jimmy Kerrigan.
After Josh Silver reached on a fielder’s choice, Westcott nearly had an inning ending double play ball but the latter end of the play featured a high throw from second baseman Tim Zier that allowed Kerrigan to score from the second base bag and give his team a 1-0 lead.
Westcott then exchanged scoreless innings with Rascals starter TIm Koons until the fourth frame when the ThunderBolts scratched across the tying run with a RBI groundout from Blair Beck, who would go on to have a three RBI day.
However, that would be the closest the opponent came to taking the lead as Koons’s offense responded with a five spot in their next opportunity.
Braxton Martinez and Mike Jurgella put together a pair of singles and then Josh Ludy reached on a fielder’s choice with one out to load the bases for Clint Freeman. The second year Rascal notched the go-ahead runs with a two RBI double to take a 3-1 lead and then a two RBI single from Taylor Love one batter later extended the Rascals lead to four runs.
Love also came across to score in the inning via the third hit of the night for Jimmy Kerrigan which was a RBI double.
“I just tried to be aggressive like always, it’s easy hitting where I am with Merjano in front of me leading things off and Josh Silver behind me,” Kerrigan said. “This series was a lot of fun, we got a sweep against a really good team who came in to the series eight games over .500.”
The Rascals held their 6-1 lead up until the sixth inning when Koons yielded a solo home run to Blair Beck, but once again the ThunderBolts couldn’t halt the Rascals offense and two more runs were put up on the board.
Against the ThunderBolts relief corps of Chris Chigas and Cody Mincey, the Rascals sent six guys to the plate and Love came into score on a first and third play where Silver stole second and the first baseman Larry Balkwill dropped the ball when deciding what to do.
Mike Jurgella drove in the Rascals eighth run of the night with a RBI single and then the final two runs came into score in the bottom of the eighth via a two-run home run from Josh Silver, his second round tripper of the year.
Silver’s long ball extended his hitting streak to 13 games and in total the Rascals tallied 14, three away from their season high of 17 set on June 6th against Washington.
Kerrigan and Jurgella became the second and third Rascal with a four hit game this year and then Braxton Martinez was also productive with two hits.
The winning pitcher was Tim Koons who notched his second quality start of the year and finished tossing 7.1 innings allowing four runs, two earned, on nine hits and tied the Rascals individual team high for strikeouts with eight.
The two unearned runs came in the top of the eighth inning after an error, a RBI groundout from Beck and a RBI single from Connor Sullivan against Nick Kennedy.
Jason Zgardowski tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the Rascals sweep and put the club back in second place in the western division.
“This was a great homestand for us, especially coming off the tough loss on Wednesday night where we had a huge lead,” Brook said. ‘To be able to win four in a row after that point is pretty big and the main reason for that is we have been playing both sides of the ball well, especially offensively where we have been getting huge hits.”
After an off-day Monday, the Rascals travel to Washington, PA, Tuesday afternoon and play a twinbill against the WildThings at Consol Energy Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
“This is our park and we defended it well that’s for sure,” Jurgella said. “Hopefully we can carry our success on to the road.”