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Last updated: August 12. 2014 11:40PM - 265 Views
By - psokoloski@civitasmedia.com



Zoilo Almonte of the RailRiders dives back to first base in the first inning of Tuesday's game at PNC Field in Moosic.
Zoilo Almonte of the RailRiders dives back to first base in the first inning of Tuesday's game at PNC Field in Moosic.
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MOOSIC — The smile on his face throughout spring training confirmed what Manny Banuelos had been telling everyone he spoke with, that he was thrilled to be back on the field.


After he finally made it back to the Triple-A level, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders were just as happy to have him.


Banuelos fired five strong innings in his season debut for the RailRiders and Jose Pirela broke out of his week-long slump with a two-run triple Tuesday as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre stormed Louisville, 6-1 at PNC Field.


“Feels pretty good,” Banuelos said. “I’m so excited.”


Banuelos, once a big-time pitching prospect of the New York Yankees before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012 and missing all of last season, looked sharp in his first game with the RailRiders in more than two years.


The lefthander allowed just two hits over his five sharp innings, retiring the first seven men he faced and seven of his final nine batters.He finished with four strikeouts and one walk, frustrating Louisville by mixing a fastball that zipped into the low 90s with some offspeed and breaking pitches — although Banuelos said he didn’t break out his curveball during his return to the RailRiders.


“It was in my mind to pitch five innings and I did it,” Banuelos said. “I feel more comfortable, throwing more strikes than before.”


He did have brief spell of wildness though, which led to Louisville’s lone run.


Banuelos bonked Bryan Anderson on the top of the helmet with a soft pitch in the third inning, then sent him to second base with a wild pitch on his very next delivery. Jason Bourgeois later caught up to a 92 mph fastball, ripping it into center field for Louisville’s first hit — a run-scoring single that gave the Bats a 1-0 lead.


“I made some mistakes,” Banuelos said. “But I came out in the fourth and I did it.”


But the RailRiders brought some big bats of their own Tuesday.


Zoilo Almonte tied the game with his second of three singles in the bottom of the third, then Kyle Roller followed with his second of two doubles to score Almonte for a 2-1 RailRiders lead.


The score stayed that way for a bit, the the RailRiders broke it open with a four-run sixth inning.


Zelous Wheeler and Rob Segedin slammed doubles in the uprising, Wheeler came home when Corban Joseph’s drive to left field was misplayed into a two-base error, and Pirela snapped an 0-for-22 skid by drilling a two-run triple that boosted the RailRiders lead to 6-1.


That only bolstered the night for Banuelos, who was 1-0 with a 4.59 ERA in 49 innings over 16 appearances for Double-A Trenton this season before being elevated back to the Triple-A level - where he was 2-4 while pitching in 13 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre between 2011 and 2012.


“Kind of a rough year, I kind of had setbacks,” said Banuelos, who had to set out for a two-week spell with arm fatigue near the end of spring training.


None of that now, though.


“Last couple performances (with Trenton), I’m starting to feel very good. Right now my arm’s healthy. I just take it outing by outing. My arm feels good.


“I’m pretty happy.”


RailRiders 6, Louisville 1

Louisville`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR


Bourgeois cf`5`0`1`1`0`0`0


Gotay lf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0


Soto 3b-1b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Neal dh`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Lutz 1b-rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Navarro ss`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Elmore 2b`4`0`0`0`0`0`0


Anderson c`2`1`1`0`0`0`0


Selsky rf`2`0`1`0`0`0`0


Iribarren ph-3b`2`0`1`0`0`0`0


Totals`31`1`5`1`0`0`0


RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR


Pirela lf`3`1`1`2`0`1`0


Refsnyder 2b`4`1`2`0`0`0`0


Almonte cf`5`0`3`1`0`0`0


Roller 1b`3`0`2`1`2`0`0


Wheeler ss`4`1`1`0`1`0`0


Joseph dh`4`1`1`0`0`0`0


Arcia c`3`1`0`0`0`0`0


Dugas rf`4`0`1`0`1`0`0


Segedin 3b`4`1`1`1`1`0`0


Totals`34`6`12`5`5`1`0


Lousiville`001`000`000 — 1


RailRiders`002`004`00x — 6


Louisville`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K


Marshall (L, 0-9)`5.1`11`6`5`3`7


Rogers`1.2`0`0`0`0`1


Castillo`1.0`1`0`0`1`0


RailRiders`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K


Banuelos (W, 1-0)`5.0`2`1`1`1`4


Pinder (H, 2)`1.1`2`0`0`2`0


Webb`1.2`1`0`0`1`0


Moreno`1.0`0`0`0`1`2


 
 
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