MOOSIC — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has made games interesting all season with its grit and never-say-die attitude.
Although being down by four runs late on Saturday night at PNC Field, the RailRiders did the same thing once again even bringing up the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. But the team fell short losing to Durham 4-2.
Trailing 4-0 in the eighth inning and being held to just two hits entering the frame, Bulls manager Jared Sandberg pulled his starter Matt Buschmann, who yielded just four baserunners.
Buschmann was on his game getting three doubleplay grounders and 10 groundouts altogether in his outing and just one out in the air.
“You guys probably witnessed it, he was pretty tough,” said RailRiders shortstop Cole Figueroa, who was the only SWB player to notch two hits on the night. “He had his slider going, his sinker going, had his change-up going. Anytime a guy’s got three pitches going, it’s gonna be a hang with ‘em kinda day.
“When a guy’s got a good sinker going, you gotta manufacture some runs and we weren’t able to get any off of him.”
After lefty Jordan Norberto gave up a hit and walk to Tyler Austin and Kyle Roller to start the eighth, former RailRider Jim Miller entered in relief and allowed both inherited runners to score as Cole Figueroa and new center fielder Mason Williams punched run-scoring singles to bring the RailRiders with two at 4-2.
Ben Gamel represented the potential go-ahead run in the frame flying out to the warning track in right field.
In the ninth, Rob Refsnyder singled to start the inning to extend his on-base streak to 24 games. Ramon Flores, Austin and Roller all represented the possible tying runs, but couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield.
“It’s always nice to score. I don’t know if it has any particular meaning for tomorrow (Sunday),” Figueroa said. “But just as a team the last couple days we haven’t been finding many holes but it was nice to score a couple late there.”
RailRiders starter Bryan Mitchell (2-4) was hit the loss despite going at least six innings for the fourth time this season.
The right-hander got help from his defense early in the game. In the second inning with a runner on third and two outs, Mitchell uncorked a wild pitch. When J.P. Arencibia tried to score, catcher Eddy Rodriguez got to the ball quickly and shoveled to Mitchell in time for the out.
In the third inning, new center fielder Williams made a full extension diving catch to end the inning.
The Bulls also stranded a runner on third in the fourth inning as Mitchell got through four innings without allowing any runs.
He wasn’t so fortunate in the fifth.
Durham banged out four hits in the fifth inning and had four baserunners in the frame before Mitchell recorded an out. The Bulls tallied three runs in the stanza to take a 3-0 lead with two coming home on run-scoring singles from Taylor Motter and Eugenio Velez.
Even though he labored through the fifth inning, Mitchell went back out for the sixth and gave up two more baserunners, but no runs as he finished his night tying his season high with 99 pitches thrown. He also allowed tied his season-high in hits allowed with seven.
When Mitchell left the game, Nick Rumbelow pitched in relief and allowed a run in the seventh after allowing consecutive singles to start as Durham opened a 4-0 lead.
After giving up those two hits in the seventh, Rumbelow didn’t let a batter reach the rest of his three-inning outing.