GARY, IN – Tillman Pugh entered his at bat in the bottom of the 12th inning 0-8 in the series. Then, the designated hitter crushed a walk-off home run off the scoreboard in left-center field to carry the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a 2-1 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs on Tuesday night.
The game was a pitchers’ duel. RailCats (43-30) starting pitcher Gabe Perez carved up the Saltdogs (34-40). He allowed just three hits and did not allow a run over eight innings of work. The right-hander struck out a season-high nine batters and did not issue a walk.
Saltdogs starter Austin Robichaux was nearly as good. The tall right went seven innings and surrendered just one run on seven hits. He caught two runners stealing and induced a double play to help limit the Cats’ offense.
Gary SouthShore scored the first run of the game in the first inning. Randy Santiesteban worked a two-out walk and scored on a double by Coliin Willis to make it 1-0.
Perez did not show a sign of weakness until the seventh inning. Randolph Oduber smacked a grounder up the middle to break a streak of 15 straight batters retired. Next, Curt Smith drilled a deep fly ball to left field that the left fielder caught just short of the fence.
The RailCats elected to pull Perez after eight innings in favor of reliever Myles Smith, who had not allowed a run in his last 10 outings. Smith walked pinch hitter Dan Johnson to start the inning and Christian Ibarra followed with a single. After a strikeout, Oduber singled to right field and D.K. Carey threw out Johnson trying to score from second base. With the ‘Dogs down to their last out, Curt Smith poked a base hit through the right side to score Ibarra and tie it up.
Shairon Martis took over on the mound for Lincoln and tossed 3.1 scoreless frames until the Pugh homer. Scott Plaza and Lars Liguori combined to toss three shutout innings of relief for Gary SouthShore.
The only two extra-base hits of the game generated the only runs for the RailCats. Lincoln was held without an extra-base hit for the second straight game.
The 12-inning game tied for the longest game of the Saltdogs’ season by innings. The teams played it in a relatively quick three hours and 25 minutes.
The Saltdogs try to win the rubber match on Wednesday in Gary. First pitch is at 7:10 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.