Sauget, Ill. – The Gateway Grizzlies fell 3-2 on Wednesday night at GCS Ballpark as the River City Rascals received a go-ahead homer from Braxton Martinez to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning.
The Rascals (44-42) also watched lefty Dan Ludwig put together an impressive performance. Ludwig (9-3) went all nine innings on the mound while throwing 135 pitches. He allowed just those two runs on four hits.
Gateway (42-44) started the scoring in the second when Craig Massoni launched his team-leading 14th homer over the left field wall. After an error allowed Sam Fischer to reach second base, Logan Davis drove him in with a two-out single to make it 2-0.
RHP Will Landsheft started the game for the Grizzlies and ran into trouble in the fifth. He was quickly pulled out of the game after loading the bases and walking in a run. RHP Jon Pusateri then came on and gave up a sac fly before the inning was over. River City tied it at 2-2.
Pusateri would go on to throw two innings without being charged for a run. With the game still tied, RHP Ja’Vaun West threw a scoreless seventh.
In the eighth, West (3-4) gave up a solo homer to Martinez. The ball just sailed over the short porch in right field as Martinez rounded the bases with his first pro homer.
Despite already throwing 114 pitches, River City manager Steve Brook sent Ludwig back out for the ninth. He walked Massoni with two outs to bring the winning run to the plate, but Ludwig bounced back to strike out Ben Waldrip to end the game.
The Grizzlies now sit two games behind River City for a Wild Card spot in the Frontier League playoff picture.
Gateway and River City play again on Thursday night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. RHP Vince Molesky (4-7, 3.37 ERA) will throw for the Grizzlies against RHP Dylan Brammer (1-0, 2.84 ERA).
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Thursday on 1400 AM KJFF and online at www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio
. Sam Levitt and Matt Sabados have the play-by-play call.