WASHINGTON, PA – Larry Pempek had a game-winning single in the tenth inning of game two Friday night, salvaging a doubleheader in which the Washington Wild Things got a walk-off homer in game one.
The ThunderBolts led early in game one when Chad Cregar jacked his first homer of the year over the center field wall to put Windy City on top 1-0.
That score held until the bottom of the fourth. Washington got hits in that inning from Josh Banda and Luis Rivera, putting runners on the corners with two outs for Zack Stanton, who doubled, scoring Banda and tying the game.
It was a pitchers’ battle from that point on. Justin Hall threw seven innings for the Wild Things, allowing just the one run on five hits and Kevin Hammons followed him by pitching two perfect frames.
For the Bolts, Matt Jernstad was on the mound throughout. He was a little shaky early, but settled in and gave up just one hit between the fifth and eighth innings.
The game, which was supposed to go only seven innings, was carried into the ninth with the score still 1-1. In the ninth, Luis Rivera singled with one out before Ochoa knocked his third ball of the year out of the park for the 3-1 win.
Hammons was the winner (2-0) and Jernstad, despite his league-best fourth complete game took the loss (2-3).
The Bolts took the lead in the fourth inning of game two. Both Casey Barnes and Dustin Williams pitched well, but Mike Torres singled beginning the fourth inning rally. Brandon Anderson bunted and reached base safely. An error on Scott Lawson moved Torres and Anderson up to third and second base, respectively. Zach Aakhus hit a grounder to first and Eric Stephens’ throw came home, but it was not in time to catch Torres and the Bolts took the 1-0 lead.
The next batter, Cregar, hit a grounder to third and Washington caught Anderson in a rundown between third and home. Anderson was called out when he was ruled to have left the baseline, and the ensuing argument saw ThunderBolts manager Mike Kashirsky ejected from the game.
The score remained 1-0 into the seventh inning. After a leadoff double from Derek Perrin, Williams departed and Wes Alsup was called on for the final three outs. He got the first two, but with pinch-runner Zack Stanton at third, Lawson blooped a double just out of shortstop Chris Wade’s reach to tie the game.
In the eighth, the Wild Things had a chance to win when Chris Sidick led off with a triple. A strikeout and two intentional walks later, the bases were loaded. But Alsup fanned Stanton and Brian Bistagne and preserved the tie.
Cregar led off in the tenth with a single, the first ThunderBolt hit since the fourth. It looked like he might be stuck there after Wade and Nick Kuroczko flew out, but Porch singled with two outs to keep the inning alive. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Larry Pempek knocked a 1-0 pitch back to center field, scoring the two runs and giving the Bolts a 3-1 game two win.
Greg Johnson got the final six outs for the win (1-0), while Matt Barnes took the loss (0-2).
The rubber match of the series will be Sunday night at 5:35 at CONSOL Energy Park. Matt Costello (1-1) will be given the ball for Windy City and will be opposed by Jhonny Montoya (1-1). Coverage can be heard on Sportsjuice.com.