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Governors’ Cup: Refsnyder Gets Bulls Off And Running In Game 2

September 13, 2018

MOOSIC — A leadoff walk opened the door, Rob Refsnyder took advantage and Durham evened things up.

Refsnyder’s two-run homer in the first inning off SWB starter Nestor Cortes had the Bulls off and running, and the RailRiders couldn’t get going on offense as Durham walked away with a 5-2 win in Game 2 of the Governors’ Cup Championship series Wednesday at PNC Field.

Scranton native Joe McCarthy went 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts, and even though his Bulls teammates added nine more strikeouts, a couple of homers and a solid start by Austin Pruitt was enough to doom the RailRiders.

“Nestor’s really, really good,” said Refsnyder, who played 286 games with the RailRiders over four seasons. “He’s got great stuff. He’s been impressive, so it was nice to get on early because we knew he was going to be really good.”

After jumping ahead in the count, 0-2, on Durham’s Kean Wong, Cortes eventually walked the Durham leadoff hitter. Refsnyder got a fastball over the plate and pummeled it for a towering shot onto the bridge above the bullpens in left for a 2-0 lead.

“Super tough,” Cortes said. “It was 0-1. Heater up. Just, just missed it over the plate. He jumped on it. I guess he was expecting it and jumped on it. Put a good swing (on it), and well you guys know what happened.”

Cortes, who last time out allowed one hit in eight dominant innings against Lehigh Valley, quickly settled down and didn’t allow another hit until the fifth inning. He walked Mac James to start the third and Wong, again, to begin the sixth, but otherwise kept Durham off-balance.

“I think that was just one mistake all night,” said Cortes, who finished with six strikeouts in six innings. “The rest, I think I pitched pretty good. Just unlucky that we couldn’t put hits together and score runs.”

Pruitt allowed three hits and walked one in six innings, taking advantage of an aggressive approach by RailRiders hitters. He needed only 79 pitches before turning the game over to the bullpen and after Gio Urshela’s two-out double and Ryan McBroom’s walk in the first inning, faced two base runners the rest of the way.

“I thought we hit the ball off their guy, first inning especially, hard,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said. “We just didn’t have any hits or runs to show for it.”

After Urshela’s double and McBroom’s walk, Mike Ford hit a fly ball to deep right that Refsnyder was able to haul in to end the inning. Mark Payton singled with one out in the third, then Pruitt stranded him with two flyouts. Wilkin Castillo ripped a two-out double down the right-field line in the fifth, and Pruitt got out of it with a ground ball.

“We had a couple chances where we could get maybe two-out base hits, possibly score a run,” Mitchell said.

Colin Poche worked the final three innings for Durham, breezing through the seventh and eighth before allowing a two-out, two-run homer to Ford in the ninth. The RailRiders have scored runs in just two innings so far this series, with the three in the fifth inning Tuesday being enough to take Game 1.

Brady Lail took over for Cortes in the seventh and ran into trouble with two outs when Jason Coats tripled and scored on Jake Cronenworth’s base hit. Cale Coshow allowed deep, two-run homer to left-center to Nate Lowe in thee ninth that stretched Durham’s lead to 5-0.

Durham and the RailRiders split the first two games of last season’s Governors’ Cup finals. The Bulls won the next two to take the series. Luckily, for the RailRiders, they’ll be able to start this de facto best-of-3 series with ace Mike King on the mound tonight.

“I like that. I like our chances,” Mitchell said. “If we can get some runs, I think we have a chance. And then, I think whoever wins (today) — obviously — is in the driver’s seat.”

Contact the writer:

cfoley@timesshamrock.com;

570-348-9125;

@RailRidersTT on Twitter

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