Wes Long went 3-for-4 with a long two-run homer, helping the Windy City ThunderBolts tie the Southern Illinois Miners, 2-2, in an exhibition game on a brisk Monday night at Standard Bank Stadium.
Long, a returnee from the ThunderBolts' 2007 Frontier League championship lineup, sandwiched fourth inning and eighth inning singles around the sixth inning one-out drive off of Miners southpaw Gustavo Suescun. The roundtripper plated LaFringe Hayes, who had drawn a walk and stolen both second and third base.
A Brad Arnett first inning RBI groundout, unearned due to a throwing error from Windy City catcher Ben Barrone, gave Southern Illinois the early lead against ThunderBolts starter Amos Ramon.
Miners first baseman Eric Allen expanded the lead in the top of the sixth with a run-scoring single off of Jordan Smolar, only to watch the 'Bolts' shortstop knot the game for good in the home at-bat.
Windy City put together potential game-winning rallies in both the eighth and ninth innings, only to strand the bases loaded each time. In the ninth, Southern Illinois reliever George Biddle, the sixth Miners pitcher of the game, walked the bases loaded but struck out Hayes to preserve the deadlock.
The two teams combined to walk 13 batters and leave 19 runners on base.
The ThunderBolts continue their preseason schedule with an exhibition game against the Traverse City Beach Bums on Tuesday at 4:00 pm at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Indiana.
Windy City will then host the Midwest Sliders in their inaugural Charity Classic at 7:05 pm on Friday. Tickets for the Charity Classic are $5 in advance and $6 the night of the game, with proceeds benefiting Park Lawn School and Sertoma Center. The Charity Classic will feature a full run-through for the 2008 season, including pre-game activities, between-inning promotions, and a full concession menu. After the game, all kids will be able to run the bases and meet the ThunderBolts players for autographs.