CRESTWOOD, IL – The Florence Freedom scored eight runs in the fourth inning on their way to an 11-7 victory over the ThunderBolts at Standard Bank Stadium Friday night.
Dustin Williams started for the Bolts and struck out the side in the first inning. Things began to unravel in the second, though, as Eddie Robinson hit a solo home run to put Florence up 1-0. They added a run in the third on a David Harris sacrifice fly.
The ThunderBolts were quick to come back, as they plated five runs in the bottom of the third. The rally began on a Travis Weaver walked. After a single from Jareck West, Andres Caceres walked Bryan Burke and Chris Wade, letting in a run. After Mike Torres’ RBI single, Caceres was pulled and Chad Cregar greeted new pitcher Mike Hanley with a sacrifice fly. Billy Nowlin then connected on his second double of the game, scoring Wade and Torres.
The 5-2 lead was short-lived as Williams suffered the same control issues that plagued Caceres. The Windy City righty walked two batters and hit two batters in the fourth and was removed after a David Harris two-run single with two outs. The rally continued against Rye Davis as Chris Curley, Rodriguez and Peter Fatse all collected RBI hits. At the end of the inning, the Freedom had scored eight times on only four hits and had taken a 10-5 lead.
It was 11-5 by the time the Windy City offense made their next move. In the sixth, Torres singled and later scored on a Nowlin sacrifice fly. Brandon Decker homered for the second straight night in the seventh and brought the Bolts to within four, but they didn’t score again.
Hanley (1-0) pitched 2.2 innings and got the win. Williams (2-2) took the loss. Jose Velazquez pitched the final three innings for his first save.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at 6:05. There will be a postgame fireworks show at Standard Bank Stadium. On the field, Blayne Weller (0-0, 2.79) will start for Windy City against Sean Gregory (1-1). Anyone who cannot make it to the park can hear the game broadcast on SportsJuice.com.