Crestwood Grad Wotherspoon Helps Tides Past RailRiders
MOOSIC — When the RailRiders scored their game-tying run in the bottom of the eighth thanks as much to a pitcher’s wildness as to their own hard-hit baseballs, then did it again on an RBI double by Giovanny Urshela, it threatened to take away from a dream kind of night for Matt Wotherspoon.
A half inning later, his Norfolk teammates rallied to give him the kind of homecoming he had looked forward to for so long.
Pedro Alvarez ripped a run-scoring single to center with one out in the top of the ninth inning, making the 5⅔ strong innings Wotherspoon spun earlier in the night count for a 7-4, 10-inning Tides win in the first game of a critical four-game set between two teams battling for the International League’s Wild Card playoff berth at PNC Field.
With the loss, the RailRiders dropped to third place in the Wild Card chase, two games behind leader Columbus and one behind the Tides.
A Crestwood graduate, Wotherspoon got touched up for two runs in the second inning, but he rebounded to shut out his former teammates into the sixth inning after that.
He allowed seven hits but walked just one and fanned seven more, receiving a standing ovation from the seven dozen family and friends who requested tickets to see his PNC Field return.
The RailRiders never led, but they repeatedly fought back to make a game of it.
Mike Yastrzemski led off the game by destroying the first pitch RailRiders starter Chance Adams threw, ripping it over the left-center field wall for a homer. Yastrzemski would work a bases-loaded walk in the second to make it 2-0, but the RailRiders got those runs back in the bottom of that inning, which proved to be the only one in which they seemed to time up Wotherspoon’s offerings.
Urshela started the frame with a triple, and Wilkin Castillo doubled him home to cut the lead in half. Devyn Bolasky singled in Castillo to tie it up.
But Wotherspoon settled down, and after Garabez Rosa homered against him on the first pitch of the fourth inning, Adams battled to keep the game close. In his 5
⅓ innings, he allowed seven hits and walked four, but only those three runs scored.
The RailRiders tied the game in the eighth, an inning spurred by back-to-back one-out singles by Zack Zehner and Castillo. Ultimately though, lefty D.J. Snelten’s two-out walks of Ricky Surum and Tyler Wade brought the tying run in.
Those runs exchanged in the ninth set up Norfolk’s relative explosion in the 10th against right-hander Cale Coshow. Garabez Rosa singled to left to bring home the courtesy runner, Luis Sardinas, for a 5-4 lead. But a single and a walk extended the inning for a well-struck double by Breyvic Valera that sailed over Zehner’s head in right and brought both runners home.
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