CRESTWOOD, IL – Juan Valdes and Chris Curley each homered for Florence Friday night and the Freedom ran away from the ThunderBolts, winning 9-2 at Standard Bank Stadium.
Valdes’ first inning homer was just the second hit off of ThunderBolts pitching this season and gave Florence a 1-0 lead right out of the gate.
Windy City answered with a run in the bottom of the first when Michael Torres reached on an error and eventually made it home on a Zach Aakhus sacrifice fly.
The game was tied into the third when Curley broke it open. With two on and two out, he sent a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a three-run blast that gave the Freedom the lead to stay.
Bolts starter Todd Privett settled down for a few innings after the Curley homer, but in the sixth, Mark Samuelson singled and Drew Rundle walked. With one out, Justin Holloway’s RBI base hit chased the Windy City starter from the game. The rally continued, though, as Cole Miles brought Rundle home on a sacrifice fly and Valdes singled home Holloway.
Valdes finished the game 3-4 with a walk, double, home run and three RBI.
The ThunderBolts scored one more time. In the seventh, Torres reached on a single and once again, was driven in on an Aakhus flyout, making it 7-2.
But the Freedom solidified their win with a two-run eighth, making the final 9-2.
Tim Holmes allowed just one unearned run over five innings for the win (2-0). His league-best ERA dropped to 0.45. Privett gave up seven total run in his first loss of the season (2-1).
The same two teams will be back at it Saturday night. Bryant Cotton (0-1) will get the ball for Windy City and he will be opposed by Cody Walden, making his first Florence start. The game will be followed by a fireworks show at Standard Bank Stadium, presented by Saint Xavier University. Saturday’s contest will be broadcast on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.