The River City Rascals (38-33) were held to just two hits and were shutout for the first time at
CarShield Field this year, 5-0, in the series finale against the Florence Freedom (44-26)
Overall, it was the third time the Rascals were shutout in 2017 and second time in the last nine
Right-hander Tim Koons was tagged with the loss, his fourth of the year, and allowed four runs,
earned, on five hits and struck out five.
All four of the runs charged to the fourth year Rascal came via a pair of two-out, two RBI
extra-base hits from the heart of the Freedom order.
The first two runs came in the top of the third inning during slugger Jose Brizuela’s at-bat. With
Daniel Fraga on second and two outs, Brizuela stroked an 0-2 pitch over the right field wall for
his team leading 13th home run of the year and those two runs would go on to be the game
Koons held the opponent to just one hit through the next four frames and then ran into trouble
again in the eighth inning.
After a controversial call that could have resulted as the third out of the inning, Taylor Oldham
sent a single into center field and would advance to third one batter later when Brizuela once
again sent the ball over the wall.
However this time, the ball went over the wall after a bounce resulting in a ground-rule double
that gave the Freedom runners on second and third with two outs.
The ground-rule double initially halted Oldham scampering home and the Rascals had a chance
to get out of the inning trailing 2-0.
With left-handed bat Andre Mercurio due up, the Rascals manager Steve Brook went to his
situational lefty Anthony Paesano to try and strand his fourth and fifth baserunners of the year.
The southpaw from Georgia Southern got ahead in the count 1-2 but would end up losing the
battle on the fifth pitch of the at-bat and was beat with a two RBI double down the right field line
that extended the Freedom’s lead to 4-0.
Matt Dallas made his professional debut in the ninth and a leadoff walk would come around to
score on a RBI ground out from Austin Wobrock to finalize the scoring in the 5-0 contest.
Offensively for the Rascals, they had a multitude of opportunities despite only notching two hits.
The first opportunity came in the bottom of the first as the Freedom starter Sam Brunner walked
Mike Jurgella and Johnny Morales. However, Jurgella was caught stealing and after another
walk, Brunner settled down and was able to strand both runners on base.
Brunner also walked two guys in the third but tallied a strikeout and a flyout to keep the early
Brandon Thomas and Josh Silver were the only Rascals to notch a hit, however, they were both
in separate innings and a double play ball would end up occurring in both frames to erase the
Brunner only lasted 2.2 innings so he was not credited with the win. The starter’s first reliever,
Enrique Zamora earned it, his second of the year as he kept the Rascals scoreless through 2.1
Freedom relievers Mike Anthony, Jamal Wilson and Pete Perez followed Zamora to complete
their second shutout of the season.
“Two infield singles isn’t going to work,” Brook said “They walked six guys and hit two, so
essentially, they gave us eight free passes.They only struck out four guys and you can’t have a
2:1 walk to strikeout ratio and get shutout.”
The Rascals look to get their bats going again on Friday night as they open up a key three
game series against the current wild card holder Evansville Otters.
“We gave away a couple games this week but we have had great run here so far in the second
half of the season,” Brook said. “We got to move on and do whatever it takes to have a good
series against Evansville and try to put us in a good position for the last 25 games.”