CRESTWOOD, IL – Stephen Holdren’s three-run triple in the seventh inning gave the River City Rascals a 3-0 lead Thursday night in a game they would hold on to win 4-3 over the ThunderBolts at Standard Bank Stadium.
The game started out with much festivity as the Bolts welcomed their one millionth fan into Standard Bank Stadium and the positive feelings carried over onto the field as Matt Jernstad got off to a great start on the hill for Windy City, allowing just one hit through six innings.
His counterpart, Don Lisi was almost as impressive not running into any trouble until the fourth. The ThunderBolts loaded the bases with two outs but were unable to score. Then in the fifth, with Quentin Luquette on second and two outs, Nick Kuroczko came up with one of his three hits, singling to right. Luquette tried to score but was called out at the plate by umpire Keith Rogowski on a controversial call that preserved the scoreless tie.
In the seventh, the first two Rascal hitters singled before Holdren tripled out to right-center. An errant throw back to the infield by Chris Wade allowed Holdren to cross the plate as well.
In the eighth, they added to their lead when Erie Williams reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and made it to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a Doug Sanders sacrifice fly.
Despite the four-run deficit, the ThunderBolts did not go down without a fight. In the bottom of the eighth, Lisi and reliever Kirkland Rivers combined to walk the bases loaded with no outs. Brandon Cunniff came out of the bullpen and his second pitch to Zach Aakhus was drilled to center, but Jareck West was able to make a nice running catch, allowing just one run to score on a sacrifice fly. After a Wade pop out and DJ Fitzgerald walk, the bases were once again loaded with two outs for Alex Chavez, who singled home two runs, cutting the lead to 4-3. Cunniff then struck out Lee Rubin to end the rally.
Derrick Miramontes pitched a perfect ninth inning to wrap up the victory for River City. Lisi picked up the win (6-1) and Jernstad took the loss (5-8). Miramontes earned his 14th save.
The Bolts welcome the Gateway Grizzlies to town for a three-game set starting Friday. Dustin Williams (9-5) will start for Windy City against Gateway’s Ryan Juarez (4-1). It is St. Baldrick’s Night at the park. Any fan willing to shave their head at the gate to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation will receive a free ticket to the game. Anyone who cannot attend can hear the game broadcast on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.