O’FALLON, MO–In a game that saw both teams take no-hitters into the eighth inning, the Joliet Slammers emerged victorious over the River City Rascals on Saturday night at CarShield Field, winning Game 4 by a final score of 2-1. The win evened the series 2-2, setting up a decisive Game 5 tomorrow night. Danny Zardon’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth proved to be the winning hit for the Slammers.
With the game scoreless entering the bottom of the eighth, the Rascals drew back-to-back walks with one out. With two outs, Ransom LaLonde delivered the Rascals’ first and only hit of the night, a flare to right field to give the team a 1-0 lead. LJ Kalawaia led-off the top of the ninth with a base hit, just the second of the night for the Slammers, setting up Zardon’s dramatic, go-ahead blast to the left field bleachers off Rascals closer Cody Mincey (0-1). Slammers closer Isaac Sanchez (1-0) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, securing the win for Joliet and forcing the extra game.
Rascals starter Hector Hernandez was absolutely brilliant, allowing just a single baserunner in six no-hit innings. He retired the last 16 hitters he faced in order after issuing a two-out walk to Zardon in the first inning, striking out seven on the night. Jason Zgardowski and Joe Iorio pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively, for River City, with the Slammers not recording their first hit until a one-out single from Chaz Meadows in the eighth inning.
Slammers starter Nathan Antone was equally electric, pitching 7 1/3 no-hit innings, allowing two walks and striking out ten in his first professional start. He excited after allowing a one-out walk to Paul Kronenfeld in the eighth, with Kronenfeld eventually coming into score. Sanchez pitched the final 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
The Rascals and Slammers face-off in a do-or-die Game 5 tomorrow night, with the winner advancing to the Frontier League Championship Series to take on the Washington Wild Things. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm CT. Jonny Oritz will make the start for the Rascals.