The Gateway Grizzlies defeated the River City Rascals 11-4 in exhibition play at CarShield Stadium.
In the first inning, the Grizzlies manufactured a run when Craig Massoni collected an RBI on a groundout to score Cody Livesay. Pitcher Dakota Smith made his preseason debut on the mound for Gateway and tossed a scoreless two frames before giving up a run in the third.
The Grizzlies trailed 4-1 in the fifth, but that’s when their bats would come alive. With one out, Tyler Norgren singled to left field which was followed by Ben Waldrip’s base hit to center. Logan Davis then stepped to the plate and blooped a single into shallow left to score Nordgren, pulling Gateway to within 4-2. Seth Heck hit a sacrifice fly to score Waldrip, making it 4-3.
With runners on second and third, Craig Massoni laced a two-RBI double into the left centerfield gap. The hit put the Grizzlies ahead, 5-4. Vin Guglietti padded the lead with a base hit to score Massoni as the Grizzlies exploded for five runs in the fifth.
Gateway continued to pour it on in the eighth as Sam Fischer blasted a three-run shot over the right field fence. Fischer's second homer of the preseason gave the Grizzlies a comfortable 9-4 edge. Brandon Thomas delivered the final blow of the game for Gateway with a two-run homer in the ninth.
Another bright spot for the Grizzlies was the work of their bullpen. LHP Jon Jones, RHP Jon Pusateri and RHP JaVaun West combined for three scoreless innings to complete the game.
The Grizzlies return to action for an exhibition finale Saturday in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark against the River City Rascals. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
Gateway opens the regular season at home Friday against the Washington Wild Things. Willie McGee, former St. Louis Cardinals standout, will be at the game.