It was hard to find a spot of grass from my vantage point in the press box, and it wasn’t because of my poor eyesight. Raley Field filled up quick in hopes to see a double dose of fireworks, the bright lights that burst in the night sky and the ones in between the first and third-base lines.
The 14,014 fans that made up the second sellout of the season didn’t leave without filling their prescription.
The Sacramento River Cats took on the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Tonight was the last Saturday night at home before they are back on the road.
The River Cats have struggled so far this year but they know the season is young.
“Were just trying to come out every game and play our game,” second-baseman Eric Sogard said. “It’s a long season, we’re just going to keep battling and come together a little bit and we’ll start winning.”
The bats got hot early for both sides. But while one team fizzled the other team sizzled.
Although starting pitcher Clayton Mortenson reacted quickly in the first at bat shielding the ball with his glove and catching the ball when it came down, Sky Sox catcher, Chris Iannata, ripped one out early. Taking one of Morteson’s fastballs deep into left with the bases loaded.
The fireworks continued in the bottom of the first inning and the River Cats never slowed down.
Corey Wimberly got on base early with a hit just out of second-baseman, Jonathan Herrera’s, reach. Steven Tolleson hit one to left center, putting a man on first and third with no outs. Jack Cust shot one past the Sky Sox first baseman, bringing in Wimberly and moving Tolleson to third.
Chris Carter followed suit, cutting that 4 run lead to 2. Kurt Burkins walked both Michael Taylor and Sogard. What could have been a double play turned into more runs for the River Cats and an early exit for Birkins. After the switch at pitcher, the River Cats were unable to add on to their 6-4 lead.
While the Sky Sox failed to score in the second, the River Cats were able to put one up on the board.
Cust doubled to right to start the bottom of the second. Taylor flied out to center, Cust ran home with ease.
The Sky Sox scored one in the top of the third, but the River Cats scored three. Following an RBI from Cust, Carter brought in two with a double, the score mounting to 10-5 in the third.
The Sky Sox were goose egged in fourth inning. Sogard got on after sending one right by the pitcher. Recker walked.Cardenas hit into a double-play. Sogard scored after a wild pitch from Moss. Wimberly walked. Tolleson sent a hard shot to third and luckily for a hard hit on the lip of the grass, Tolleson was able to bring in Recker and Cardenas.
With the bases loaded in the fifth, Michael Affronti sent one right down the third-base line, driving in three and placing himself on second, continuing the streak of at least one run per inning.
The River Cats were unable to keep the streak going in the seventh, but nobody will be losing any sleep over it. Tolleson called this one.
“Our offense is ready to break out,” Tolleson said. “We’ve got a really strong offensive team and we just haven’t been able to get everyone going at the same time.”
Tolleson went 3 for 5 and added three runs, elevating his batting average to a team-high .365. Cust also three runs and went 3 for 4 bringing in two. Both Carter and Affronti were credited for three RBI’s. The River Cats finished the night with 16 hits and 16 runs.
Mortenson improved to 4-1 on the year, while Fernando Hernandez earned the save.
The River Cats hope to gain momentum before going on their road trip.