The Normal CornBelters dropped its second straight to the River City Rascals Tuesday night 11-3. Despite an early lead, Rascal pitching and offense dominated Normal throughout the night, driving the Belters 10.5 games out of first place.
The CornBelters wasted no time scoring as Brandon Newton and Frank Martinez connected for back-to-back doubles, putting Normal ahead 1-0 in the 1st. Two batters later Asif Shah plated Martinez with a single giving the Belters a 2-0 lead.
River City (37-15) cut down the lead in the 3rd without recording a hit. Eric Williams was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, stole second, and reached third on a sac fly. Doug Sanders then grounded out to score Williams and bring the Rascals closer 2-1.
A bases-loaded single by Chris McClendon drove home Chad Maddox to put River City ahead 3-2 for its first lead of the night. On that same play, Landis Wilson was tagged out as he attempted to reach home, ending the top of the 6th.
A three-run shot by Maddox gave River City a 6-2 lead in the 7th. CornBelter reliever Benjamin Paxton walked both Jason Patton and Joash Brodin to put two on with two out for Maddox. With a 1-2 count, the Rascal left fielder sent Paxton?s pitch over Mike Mobbs and the left field wall to give River City the biggest lead of the night.
Daniel Cox tacked on the CornBelters first run since the beginning frame as he singled home Martinez to cut River City?s lead 6-3.
An explosive 9th inning by River City gained that run back and more against Normal reliever Wade Morrison. Stephen Holdren singled home Patton to increase the Rascal lead to 7-3. Josh Lowey came in as a pinch runner, and scored on a wild pitch for an 8-3 score. McClendon cleared the bases later on with a three-run double to score the final runs and make it 11-3.
CornBelter starter Michael Click picked up a no-decision after working five innings of two-run baseball, walking one and striking out two. River City's Erick Carillo (1-2) earned the win with 6.1 innings and two earned runs allowed. Ben Paxton (L, 0-1) threw two innings in relief of Click, surrendering three hits and four earned runs.
The series between the CornBelters and Rascals will conclude Wednesday. Brett Lester (4-4, 4.42) will take the mound for Normal as River City sends right-hander Josh Lowey (5-2, 2.55). First pitch is at 7 p.m. at the Corn Crib.