The River City Rascals earned the seventh straight win Tuesday night, with a 5-2 come-from-behind victory over the host Rockford Aviators at Aviator Stadium in Loves Park, Ill.
Center fielder Curran Redal had four hits, drove in a run, and scored a run to lead the Rascals at the plate, while starting pitcher Drew Benes earned his xxx win, by going five solid innings, and only allowing Rockford the two runs on seven hits, with six strikeouts and just one walk.
The victory moved River City’s record to 46-41, and with the loss earlier in the evening by the Southern Illinois Miners, the Rascals pulled to within a game-and-a-half possession of the Frontier League’s fourth and final playoff spot.
The defending league champion Miners are now tied with the Gateway Grizzlies and Florence Freedom for that final spot. All three clubs have 48-40 records.
But while those three are busy battling with one another, they better keep an eye on River City, which has won 12 of its last 14 games to get back into the playoff hunt.
And with a particularly favorable schedule down the stretch, including two more against last place Rockford, a final home series of the season against Southern Illinois over the weekend, and then a four-game set to close the regular season against the Evansville Otters next week, the Rascals still have a shot to be the team to sneak into that final playoff spot.
For that to happen though, River City will need more nights like the one they got from Redal and Benes on Tuesday.
The Rascal center fielder continued his hot hitting August (.318 batting average the last 30 days), with his second four-hit game of the month to raise his overall average to .288. And Benes (2-2) earned his second straight win this month, after missing significant time in June and July due to injury.
River City could also use some extra luck like they got on Tuesday, when one Rockford error helped the Rascals score what proved to be the game-winning run in the sixth inning, and also a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, which were also helped along by Aviator fielding miscues.
The two clubs will be back at it with Game 2 of their series on Wednesday. Tommy Mendoza (4-6) will make the start for the Rascals, while Nick Grim (1-3) will get the ball first for the Aviators.
RIVER CITY RASCALS REMAINING SCHEDULE
August 28 at Rockford Aviators ……………… 7:05 p.m.
August 29 at Rockford Aviators ……………… 7:05 p.m.
August 30 vs. Southern Illinois Miners ………. 7:05 p.m.
August 31 vs. Southern Illinois Miners ………. 7:05 p.m.
September 1 vs. Southern Illinois Miners …….. 6:05 p.m.
September 3 at Evansville Otters (doubleheader) . 5:35 p.m.
September 4 at Evansville Otters ……………. 10:05 a.m.
September 5 at Evansville Otters ……………. 6:35 p.m.