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Last updated: May 27. 2013 12:05AM - 1262 Views
By DAVE ROSENGRANT



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MOOSIC – Badly needing a win to stop a long stretch of losing, the RailRiders turned to ace and stopper Chris Bootcheck, who has been the team’s best pitcher all season.


Bootcheck, who helped the team stop losing streaks twice this season prior to Sunday and nearly stopped the current streak leaving with a lead before an eventual loss, gave the team a much needed lift helping Scranton/Wilkes-Barre halt its longest losing streak since 2011 at seven games in a 7-3 win over Durham at PNC Field. It was also a big win for the club because its heading out on another eight-game road trip starting this afternoon in Norfolk.


“It’s always god to build on something, especially with what’s been going on the last few days,” second baseman Corban Joseph said. “We had a lot of good hits tonight and we came out on top so that’s always positive going on the road. Let’s hope we can carry that on the road.”


In his first season as a full-time starter since 2005, Bootcheck picked up his team-leading fifth win of the season going six innings allowing just two earned runs for his seventh quality start in nine outings. He also didn’t allow any extra-base hits and has only allowed one extra-base hit in 2013. His ERA of 2.82 is the lowest among all I.L. pitchers who have five or more wins.


Bootcheck ran into trouble in the top of the first as Durham loaded the bases without hitting the ball out of the infield getting a pair of infield singles and a walk. But he got a double-play groundball to end the threat. On the afternoon, he induced nine groundball outs and three of the seven hits he allowed didn’t leave the infield.


“I was trying to keep the ball on the ground and get doubleplays if we can get them,” Bootcheck said. “It seems like the groundballs were there and they were just hitting them in the right place and a step or two out of range.”


Three straight two-out singles in the bottom of the first, capped by one from Dan Johnson, gave the RailRiders their second consecutive lead of the series after the first inning with a 1-0 advantage.


Unlike the last time when the Bulls eventually regained the lead, Bootcheck kept the Bulls batters at bay until the lead was at 4-0 when they scratched out two runs against him.


In the first three games of the series, Durham took advantage of RailRiders’ miscues to take big leads. On Sunday, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre gave the Bulls as taste of their own medicine in the bottom of the fourth scoring three runs on just one hit. Durham committed a pair of errors in the inning, both by starting pitcher Chris Archer (5-3), who also walked two and hit a batter in the frame. All three runs in the fourth came around to score on two errors by Archer on the same play with the bases loaded. Joseph hit a comebacker to the mound that Archer bobbled. When he regrouped, he tried to get Joseph at first but threw the ball into right field allowing the runs to score and give the RailRiders a 4-0 lead.


If the RailRiders had any momentum going, the Bulls took it away plating a pair in the top of the fifth to trim the deficit in half to 4-2 then Archer came back with a shutdown inning in the bottom half.


But Bootcheck only needed five pitches to get through the next half inning to return the favor. His day ended at that point after throwing 91 pitches, 59 for strikes. He walked two and fanned one.


“I’ll take it. It wasn’t pretty but anytime you can get a win you’ll take it, ”Bootcheck added. “The lengthy innings for me – there’s probably been one every start – they keep me from getting into the seventh. You can be picky about it and wins are wins. We’ll take it either way but there’s always room for improvement.”


Adison Maruszak helped extend the RailRiders to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh with a sacrifice fly and Zoilo Almonte’s fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast onto the lawn in left field, extended the team’s lead to 7-3 entering the ninth.


RailRiders 7, Bulls 3


Durham““`RailRiders


`ab`r`h`bi“ab`r`h`bi


Thompson lf`5`1`1`1`Joseph 2b`5`0`0`1


Bourgeois cf`3`1`2`0`Neal dh`3`1`1`0


Belnome 3b`3`0`2`1`Almonte lf`4`2`2`2


Myers dh`4`0`3`0`Muselier rf`5`1`2`0


Anderson 1b`4`0`0`0`Johnson 1b`4`0`1`1


Guyer rf`4`0`1`1`Bell 3b`4`1`1`0


Fontenot ss`4`0`0`0`Mesa cf`5`0`0`0


Figueroa 2b`4`0`0`0`Maruszak ss`3`1`1`1


Albernaz c`2`1`1`0`Wilson c`1`1`1`0



Totals`35`3`10`2`Totals`34`7`9`5


Durham`000`020`010—`3


RailRiders`100`300`12x—`7


E – Archer 2 (2), Fontenot (6), Joseph (5). LOB—DUR 7, SWB 12. TEAM RISP – DUR 4-for-11, SWB 1-for-11. 2B— Bell (7). HR – Almonte (4). SF – Maruszak. SB – Thompson (14), Bourgeois (12), Albernaz (2). GIDP – DUR 3, SWB 0.


<


`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Durham


Archer (W, 6-2) `5`5`4`2`3`6


Paduch `3`4`3`2`4`1


RailRiders


Bootcheck (W, 5-0) ` 6`7`2`2`2`1


Rapada (H,1) `1`0`0`0`0`1


Whitley (H,1)`1`3`1`1`0`1


Demel`1`0`0`0`0`1


HBP – Neal (by Archer)


Umpires— Home, Kelvin Bultron; First, Travis Carlson; Third, Ryan Blakney


T— 2:51. A— 6,493 (10,000)


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