Katoh, Alvarez, SWB Outmuscle Rochester
MOOSIC — Rochester knocked the RailRiders for
10 hits Thursday, with seven coming before the fifth inning.
They were all singles, however, and only two scored runs — both with two outs in the fourth inning.
The RailRiders had 11 hits, with two players alone combining for six extra-base hits.
Gosuke Katoh homered and doubled twice and Mandy Alvarez doubled three times as SWB wrapped up its homestand with a 7-3 win over Rochester at a — finally — warm PNC Field.
“It felt like we were all locked in,” said Alvarez, who drove in two runs. “We knew what we wanted to do at the plate. Put good swings on good pitches to hit.”
It was just the fourth time this year the RailRiders played a game where the first-pitch temperature was at least 70 degrees, and even though the ball wasn’t necessarily carrying as well as it has at other times, SWB’s bats heated up.
Rochester led, 3-0, after the top of the fourth, with the two two-out runs that inning frustrating starting pitcher David Hale. His teammates picked him up in the bottom of the inning.
Leading off, Katoh lined a 3-1 pitch into the seats in right field. It was his sixth home run of the season, tying a career high he’s reached three times before.
“It’s wild considering we’re a month into the season,” Katoh said. “A lot of things have changed since last year, obviously including the balls. We’re using big league balls now. But also I’ve been working with our hitting coach Phil (Plantier) for a better swing and how to prepare for these games. How to come up with a plan to attack the pitcher. And I think that’s paying off right now.”
Alvarez’s second double of the night scored Ryan McBroom to bring the RailRiders within a run, then Zack Zehner tied it with a two-out line drive base hit to center.
Alvarez squared the ball up all five times he came to the plate, with two fly balls dying at the warning track in left field.
“I was a little disappointed one of them didn’t go, because the wind usually blows out, and today, had nothing behind it,” Alvarez said. “Got to do some more pushups.”
Katoh led off the fifth with a double Rochester left fielder LaMonte Wade Jr. lost in the twilight sky. McBroom gave the RailRiders a 4-3 lead by ripping a single to left.
The game stayed that way until the eighth inning, with Hale settling in before giving way to relievers Rex Brothers and Jake Barrett, who combined to strike out six over the final 3⅓ innings.
Hale allowed three runs, but just two earned, in 5⅔ innings. He walked one and struck out two, seeing his season ERA inch up to 2.38.
The RailRiders added some insurance in the eighth with a two-out rally. With Billy Fleming on first after a leadoff walk, Katoh lofted a long, opposite-field double and McBroom walked, loading the bases for a third time. Ryan Lavarnway swung at Rochester reliever Jake Reed’s first pitch and lined it to center to plate two runs. Alvarez followed with another double, pushing it to 7-3.
“Feels good,” Alvarez said. “Trying to implement all the hard work into the game. Finally seeing it pay off is always rewarding. Happy the ball fell for me.”
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