The River City Rascals are still playing baseball in September thanks to some well-timed late inning magic on Tuesday night.
Down three runs with two out in the eighth, the Rascals scratched out four unearned runs to come back and pull out a thrilling 6-5 wild-card playoff win at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.
River City (57-40) will open the Frontier League Western Division playoff best of five series against the Southern Illinois Miners on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.
Games two and three will be played Saturday and Sunday at Rent One Park in Marion, Il.
Florence, which ended the season at 49-48 jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first off an Austin Newell two-run home run.River City responded promptly in the first with an RBI-double from Taylor Ard in the first inning and a Casey Rodrigue sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, to even it at 2-2.
In the top of the fourth, The Freedom broke back ahead as Daniel Fraga singled home a pair of runs to make it 4-2.
Florence starter Jeremy Gooding had the Rascals number early as he held River City in check over seven innings. Gooding gave up just two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking two.
The Freedom picked up another run in the the top of the eighth as Isaac Weinrich pounded a solo homer extending the lead to 5-2.
Freedom reliever Ethan Givens took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and retired the first two Rascals hitters he faced but quickly put himself in a jam after that.
After walking the next two batters, River City’s Jackson Slaid reached on a booted ground ball by Florence shortstop Zac Mitchell to loaded the bases.
Gibbons then walked in a run and Josh Silver’s fly ball to center field was misplayed and that miscue cleared the bases and put the Rascals ahead 6-5.
Florence managed to get its first two runners on in the top of the ninth, but River City reliever Victor Beriguete retired the next three Freedom batters in order to advance the Rascals on to the divisional playoffs and end Florence’s season.