WASHINGTON, PA – The ThunderBolts scored two runs in the seventh to break a tie and defeated the Washington Wild Things 6-5 at CONSOL Energy Park Sunday night.
The Thunderbolts got off to a great start with the first three men all reaching and scoring. Mike Torres doubled and scored on a Chris Wade bunt that also featured an error, allowing Wade to reach. Wade had to leave the game after colliding with Brad Agustin at first base. Chad Cregar followed with a two-run homer, his 27th of the year. The home run set the franchise single-season record and the career record with his 33rd over the last two years.
Washington starter Chris Smith pitched well after the homer, retiring 16 of the next 17 hitters. Meanwhile, the Wild Things offense was chipping away at the lead. They scored a run in the second on an error and tied the score in the fifth. With two outs and two on in that inning, Shain Stoner hit an infield single. A throwing error allowed both runners to score.
Windy City quickly responded. In the sixth, Brandon Decker doubled and scored on a wild pitch, making it 4-3.
Again, though, the Wild Things tied it up. In the bottom of the inning, A.J. Nunziato tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly. Decker made the catch on that play, but had to leave the game after a collision with Travis Weaver.
The Bolts took the lead for good in the seventh. Bob Glover was hit by a pitch and Mike Torres singled with one out. After a failed suicide squeeze attempt, Torres moved to second base and with the infield in, Weaver slapped a single to right to score Glover. Torres crossed the plate on Cregar’s fielder’s choice and the Bolts led 6-4.
Jim Vahalik homered in the eighth for Washington to make it a one-run game, and in the ninth, Mike Recchia was called on for the save. He retired the last two hitters to hang on for the 6-5 win.
Stephen Sauer (7-6) pitched six innings and allowed four runs in the win and Smith (8-6) gave up all six runs in the loss. Recchia earned his first save.
The first-place ThunderBolts begin a three-game set with the second-place Gateway Grizzlies at Standard Bank Stadium on Tuesday. Recchia (11-2, 2.40) will start game one for the Bolts against Gateway’s Chris Enourato (4-4, 4.60). The first 250 fans at the game will receive a free hat. The game broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.