SAUGET — Gateway catcher Landon Hernandez drove in a franchise-record eight runs on Saturday night to lead the Grizzlies to a 14-4 win over the River City Rascals at GCS Stadium.
A crowd of 5,027 watched Hernandez tie a Frontier League record in home runs and set a new Grizzlies record in runs batted in in a single game.
Gateway (41-27) scored four runs in first inning, seven in the third inning and single runs in fourth, fifth and seventh to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
Hernandez hit three homers over the first four innings. He ripped a grand slam in the first and a three-run shot in the third. He followed with a solo shot in the fourth.
"Three homes in a game is a rare thing," said Hernandez, a Palm Desert, Calif., native. "You've got to cherish this moment. I was hunting for fastballs and luckily, I got them. I felt good at the plate and I saw the ball really well."
Hernandez grounded out on each of his final two at-bats. Hernandez admitted he was going for broke in those at-bats.
"I was trying to swing for it," Hernandez said. "I was trying to have some fun. I just didn't get it done."
Hernandez has 14 homers and a team-high 50 RBI.
The previous Gateway record for RBIs in a game was seven set by Dustin Roberts in 2007 and Charlie Lisk in 2011.
The Frontier League record for RBIs in a game is nine.
The three home runs in a game ties in the team record as Hernandez became the fourth Grizzlies player to hit three home runs in a game. The last player to do so was Rogelio Noris in August, 2012. Ryan Sullivan (2005) and David Lara (2001) also hit three homers in a game.
River City (32-35) finally got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning, scoring four runs on two home runs.
All of the Rascals runs were charged to Grizzlies starting pitcher Jake Stephens (3-2), who allowed four runs on six hits in seven and two thirds innings.
Hernandez wasn't the only Gateway player to have a big game offensively.
Jonathan Johnson went 2-for-3 with his fifth home run of the season and Vladimir Frias enjoyed a 3-for-4 night with two doubles, two runs driven in and three runs scored.
Gateway's victory coupled with a Schaumburg Boomers loss gave the Grizzlies a 2 1/2 game lead in the West Division.
The Grizzlies and Rascals continue their series Sunday night at GCS Ballpark. Right-hander Tucker Jensen (6-4) gets the start for the series. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.