O'FALLON, Mo. — The Gateway Grizzlies trailed 5-1 after one inning, 7-3 after two, and 8-5 after six Friday night. They came back to force extra innings, but fell 9-8 in 10 frames to the River City Rascals at CarShield Field.
After hitting only one home run over the first six games of 2019, the Grizzlies (4-3) crushed four big flies in game No. 7 over their furious comeback. Connor Owings hit a pair of two-run shots and reached base in each of his five trips to the plate; his seventh-inning blast to right-center field tied the game, 8-8.
Andrew Daniel launched a solo homer earlier in the seventh. Austin O'Brien went to the opposite field with a two-run bomb of his own to right field in the second inning after the Grizzlies had fallen behind 5-1.
Gateway scored first on a Rafael Valera RBI single in the first inning, but the Rascals (5-3) countered with five runs in the home half on four singles, two walks, and a hit batsman. After O'Brien's homer, River City added two more to take a 7-3 lead at the end of the second. Owings' first homer in the third made it 7-5, which was the score until the Rascals added an insurance run in the sixth ahead of the Grizzlies' three-run seventh inning to tie things up.
To his credit, Grizzlies starting pitcher Chris Carden remained in the game after a difficult first two innings and recovered nicely: he pitched 5 1/3 innings and did not allow another earned run before departing in the sixth.
Jason Seever, Patrick Boyle, and Geoff Bramblett did not allow a run over 3 2/3 combined innings out of the Grizzlies' bullpen. Bramblett stranded Rascals at second and third to end the bottom of the ninth and send the game to extras.
Sean Johnson (0-1) took the loss for the Grizzlies in the 10th.
Luke Lowery, who was 1-for-20 to start his 2019 campaign after a strikeout in the first inning, bounced back with three straight singles in a 3-for-5 effort. Shawon Dunston Jr. picked up the first four-hit game of the season (all singles), but was overshadowed by Owings' power display. Owings added three walks (one intentional) to the two round-trippers.
Gateway has dropped the opener in each of its three series this season. In each of the first two sets, however, the Grizzlies have won the remaining two games and taken the series. They fell to 1-1 in extra-inning games Friday.
Gateway and River City are scheduled to continue their three-game series with a second meeting Saturday at 6:35 p.m. CDT.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.