Luke Voit’s first homer all RailRiders would need in doubleheader sweep of Norfolk

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
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MOOSIC — Luke Voit joked after Saturday’s doubleheader that Mike King would owe him.

With King having gone seven strong innings for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and the first game of the doubleheader looking destined for extra innings, Voit stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the seventh.

After a couple of pitches from Norfolk Tides reliever Ethan Phillips, the RailRiders first baseman sat in an 0-2 hole. Voit thought there’d be a chance Phillips would try to blow a fastball by him but instead it was an off-speed pitch. The pitch hung and Voit made the reliever pay.

Voit’s first RailRiders home run not only provided Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a walk-off, 2-1 win, but it gave his team enough momentum to go into the nightcap and pull off its second win of the day.

The RailRiders beat Norfolk 3-1 in the nightcap thanks to timely hits and an impressive pitching performance from spot starter Adonis Rosa.

“We kind of needed it,” Voit said of the walk-off win. “We’ve been grinding it these past couple days with these doubleheaders and guys are kind of falling like flies right now, going through some (stuff). It’s crazy, but it’s August. Stuff’s starting to knick-and-knack around. A lot of these guys are playing through some stuff, but that’s definitely a morale booster for us. We’re what? How many games back now? I think (we’re right there in) the playoffs.”

King spun his third impressive start in three tries to secure his second Triple-A win.

While he didn’t pick up as many strikeouts as he would have liked — it was only four — the 23-year-old right-hander was extremely efficient. King threw 93 pitches and would have came back out for an eighth inning if the RailRiders went into extras. He also recorded 10 groundball outs compared to just three flyball outs.

The right-hander gave up just one run in seven innings of work despite giving up seven hits.

“It’s just been fastball command. Really, that’s what’s carried me the entire year,” King said. “Getting up 0-1 on a lot of guys. The main thing I’m trying to do is get up 0-2. Instead of going 1-1, just going 0-2 on the guys I get up 0-1 and we were able to do that today a pretty good amount.”

RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell has been impressed with King since the moment he arrived in Triple-A, which was a level King hadn’t even considered pitching at this season. His goal was to make Double-A this year and start 2019 with the RailRiders.

One aspect of King’s game that has stood out the most to Mitchell has been the starting pitcher’s preparation.

“Did you see him? He’s like a surgeon, like I said, man,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “He goes out there and just knows exactly what he wants to do. We felt like he made some really good pitches that were strikes and called balls. Even then, with the way he pitched, he probably pitched a little better than he did with that situation.

“I thought he did a really good job of commanding all his pitches — in and out.”

Even though Rosa is heading back to Double-A Trenton, he can leave feeling like he accomplished something. The 23-year-old right-hander picked up his second Triple-A win of his career after going 1-0 in two starts with the RailRiders last season.

Rosa would allow the lead-off hitter on in three of the five innings he pitched for the RailRiders, but was able to limit the damage to just one run. Like King, Rosa also induced more groundouts than flyouts — five to three.

“Hopefully he gets back because he can pitch. He can really pitch,” Mitchell said. “He didn’t walk to many guys. A couple hits to lead off the inning, but he got right out of it.”

Fleming out for year

RailRiders infielder Billy Fleming posted a post-operation photo to Instagram Friday evening writing that his season would be over.

“Sucks to see a season end like this. But thanks to Dr. Ahmad & everyone at New York Presbyterian Hospital for fixing me up and getting me back on the comeback trail,” Fleming wrote.

Mitchell confirmed the surgery and that Fleming will miss the remainder of the season on Saturday.

Fleming had a procedure done to repair his shoulder because after jamming his shoulder in Trenton before he was called up to the RailRiders. Fleming tried to play through the injury with the RailRiders, but couldn’t and was placed on the disabled list on July 25. He was also dealing with back problems.

“Nobody knew the extent of it and then (in one game) he threw third to first and bounced it like halfway,” Mitchell said. “I just thought he wasn’t loose or something, and he had big issues there. So yeah, shoulder surgery.”

GAME 1

RailRiders 2, Tides 1, 7 innings

Norfolk`AB`R`H`BI

Yastrzemski cf`3`0`2`0

Valera lf`3`0`1`0

Stewart rf`3`0`0`0

Alvarez dh`3`0`1`0

Brugman pr-dh`0`0`0`0

Sisco c`3`0`1`0

Sardinas ss`3`0`1`0

Dosch 3b`3`0`0`0

Rosa 1b`3`1`1`1

Tejada 2b`3`0`0`0

Totals`27`1`7`1

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade rf`3`0`0`0

Urshela ss`3`0`1`0

Voit dh`3`1`1`1

Ford 1b`2`0`0`0

Zehner lf`2`1`1`1

Navarro 3b`2`0`0`0

Diaz c`2`0`0`0

Bolasky cf`2`0`0`0

Surum 2b`2`0`0`0

Totals`21`2`3`2

PB: Diaz (4); DP: Tides 0, RailRiders 1; LOB: Tides 5, RailRiders 1; HR: Rosa (8), Zehner (10), Voit (1).

Norfolk`001`000`0 — 1

RailRiders`000`010`1 — 2

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

Yacabonis`5`2`1`1`0`3

Phillips (L, 4-5)`1`1`1`1`0`0

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

King (W, 2-0)`7`7`1`1`0`4

Umpires: John Bacon, HP; Richard Riley, 1B; Mike Wiseman, 3B.

Time: 1:33.

GAME 2

RailRiders 3, Tides 1, 7 innings

Norfolk`AB`R`H`BI

Yastrzemski cf`4`0`1`0

Valera 3b`3`0`0`0

Stewart rf`3`0`0`0

Alvarez dh`3`0`1`0

G. Rosa 1b`3`1`2`1

Sardinas ss`3`0`0`0

Brugman lf`2`0`0`0

Marin 2b`2`0`0`0

Araiza c`2`0`0`0

Totals`25`1`4`1

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Wade rf`3`0`1`0

Urshela ss`3`1`1`1

Voit dh`2`0`0`0

Ford 1b`2`1`0`0

Zehner lf`3`0`1`0

Nazarro 3b`3`0`1`0

Castillo c`3`0`1`1

Bolasky cf`2`0`1`0

Surum 2b`3`1`2`0

Totals`24`3`8`2

E: Sardinas (7); Pickoffs: Ysla (Wade at 1B); DP: Tides 2; HR: G. Rosa (9); LOB: Tides 6, RailRiders 7; SB: Yastrzemski (5); CS: Wade (8).

Norfolk`010`000`0 — 1

RailRiders`010`020`0 — 3

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

Ysla (L, 0-2)`6`8`3`3`4`3

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

A. Rosa (W, 1-0)`5`4`1`1`2`4

Kontos (H, 5)`1`0`0`0`0`0

Harvey (S, 6)`1`0`0`0`0`1

WP: Ysla.

Umpires: Richard Riley, HP; Mike Wiseman, 1B; John Bacon, 3B.

Time: 1:50; Attendance: 8,191.

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By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders continue their four-game series against the Norfolk Tides at PNC Field, with a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m.

Probable Pitchers: SWB RHP Erik Swanson (2-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. NOR LHP Josh Rogers (7-9, 3.54)

Today at PNC Field: Family FUNday — Kids run the bases after the game, CHAMP’s Kids Club members receive free admission and kids 12 and under receive a free meal voucher for Jersey Mike’s Subs; LEGO “Lets Play Tour;” Wendy’s Kids Club Day; Military discount — $2 off walk-up tickets with a military ID.

Riding the Rails: RHP Adonis Rosa promoted from Double-A Trenton.

On Radio: All RailRiders games can be heard live on NEPA Sports Radio – The Game.

HOW THEY SCORED

GAME 1

NORFOLK THIRD: Mike King pitching. Garabez Rosa homers to deep right. NORFOLK 1-0

RAILRIDERS FIFTH: Jimmy Yacabonis pitching. Zack Zehner homers to deep left center. TIED 1-1

RAILRIDERS SEVENTH: Evan Phillips pitching. Luke Voit homers to deep left center. RAILRIDERS 2-1

GAME 2

NORFOLK SECOND: Adonis Rosa pitching. Garabez Rosa homers to deep left. NORFOLK 1-0

RAILRIDERS SECOND: Luis Ysla pitching. Mike Ford walks. Zack Zehner singles to right, Ford to second. Rey Navarro grounds out to first, Ford to third, Zehner to second. Wilkin Castillo reaches on a fielding error by SS Luis Sardinas, Ford scores, Zehner to third. TIED 1-1

RAILRIDERS FIFTH: Luis Ysla pitching. Ricky Surum singles to left. Tyler Wade singles to right, Surum to third. Gio Urshela singles to center, Surum scores, Wade to second. Luke Voit grounds into a force out to short, Wade out at third, Urshela to second, Voit to first. Mike Ford grounds out to the pitcher, Urshela to third, Voit to second. With Zack Zehner batting, wild pitch by Ysla, Urshela scores, Voit to third. RAILRIDERS 3-1

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle