The final Saturday night game of the 2012 regular season drew a sold-out crowd of more than 14,000 fans to Raley Field to watch the Sacramento River Cats in game four of a five-game series with the Salt Lake Bees.
After winning the first two games of the series the River Cats dropped their second straight game to the Bees on Saturday by a final score of 4-3.
The score was quickly 1-0 in favor of Sacramento when Collin Cowgill, who reached base on an error, was driven home on a single to center field by Kila Kaâaihue in the bottom half of the first inning.
However, Sacramentoâs lead would not last long.
With two outs in the top of the second inning Hank Conger hit the first of three Salt Lake solo home runs on the night. Congerâs shot, a screaming line drive down the right field line, quickly tied the game at a run apiece.
The tie was also very short lived as Grant Green led off the home half of the second inning with a home run of his own, this one to left field. The River Cats scored a second time in the inning after Daric Barton singled and scored following a base hit by Jemile Weeks.
Following the first two innings, Salt Lake starting pitcher Greg Smith settled down and allowed just two additional hits by Sacramento, totaling six hits over six and one-third innings of work.
The Bees were able to score a run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to creep ahead of the River Cats 4-3.
A home run by Cory Aldridge to right field in the fifth inning and the go-ahead home run by Ryan Langerhans in the seventh inning were the bookends to a good olâ manufactured run in the sixth inning.
Andrew Romine got aboard on an infield hit and stole second base. He advanced to third on a fly ball and scored on a controversial sacrifice fly. River Cats manager Darren Bush argued with home plate umpire Eric Loveless over whether Romine left third base too early. This prompted a brief discussion among all three umpires but the original call was upheld and the inning ended with the Bees ahead 4-3.
With the final fireworks show of the regular season coming up at the end of the game and a one-run game going on, fans were already leaving the park. Nearly a third of the seats and lawn area combined were already empty. The Delta Breeze was in full working order and made for a chilly night but the ballgame was far from over.
Sacramentoâs best chance to tie the game was literally shot down at home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning.
After getting on base on a fielderâs choice, ninth-place hitter Ryan Lipkin attempted to score from second on a single by Cowgill. However, Bees right fielder Kole Calhoun got the ball back in to Conger as part of a great outfield assist. With plenty of time to catch the ball and get set, Conger was ready and withstood the collision with Lipkin at the plate.
The River Cats will wrap up the home portion of the regular season with a Sunday night game against the Bees before going back on the road to finish out the regular season, which ends on Labor Day. Their âmagic numberâ to clinch a playoff spot was reduced to four with Las Vegas losing their game Saturday night.