CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts erased a late three-run deficit, but were unable to complete their comeback as the Gateway Grizzlies took game two of the series 5-4 at Standard Bank Stadium Saturday night.
The Grizzlies jumped ahead early for the second straight night, scoring three first-inning runs. The first five men reached for Gateway, all on singles. The third in the string of hits, off the bat of Niko Vasquez, scored Jonathan Johnson and made the score 1-0. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Michael Wing brought home two more runs on his single.
The ThunderBolts answered when their first four men reached base. Mike Torres singled and Ryan Soares doubled before Kyle Robinson loaded the bases on a walk. Ja’Vaun West walked Evan Button as well, scoring Torres and making the score 3-1. West pitched out of the jam, though, not allowing another run.
Gateway scored again in the third, also on a bases loaded walk. Xavier Macklin earned the RBI. James Ferguson was called out of the Windy City bullpen to replace starter Jason Kafka with the bases loaded and struck out three in a row to get out of the inning.
The score remained 4-1 until the ThunderBolts came up in the seventh. Matt Scioscia led off with a double and he scored on a Ty Stetson double. Torres singled to put runners at the corners and Soares cleared the bases with his second double of the game, tying the score.
The Grizzlies reclaimed the lead for good in the eighth. Blake Shepherd led off with a double and moved to third with one out. Jessie Snodgrass got Johnson to ground out, but walked the next three batters, scoring Shepherd and making the score 5-4.
West (4-0) allowed four runs in seven innings and earned the win while Snodgrass (1-1) took the loss. Richard Barrett pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his sixth save.
The rubber match of the three-game series will be played on Sunday at 2:05. Daniel Cropper (1-3, 6.33) will make the start for Windy City against Gateway’s Dejai Oliver (2-2, 5.87). It is Standard Bank Family Day at the park with ticket deals as well as an autograph session. Fans will also be allowed to play catch on the outfield after the game. Fans not in attendance can hear the broadcast on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.