CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts scored three runs in the seventh inning Saturday night to come from behind to beat the Florence Freedom 4-3 at Standard Bank Stadium.
Chris Curley hit a solo home run for Florence with two outs in the first to give his team a 1-0 lead against Windy City starter Blayne Weller.
It took three innings, but the ThunderBolts answered in kind when Jareck West hit his first home run as a ThunderBolt in the bottom of the third to knot the score at one.
The Freedom continued to chip away, though, scoring a run in the fourth on a John Malloy RBI double and one in the fifth on a Curley RBI groundout following Cole Miles’ second double of the game.
The Freedom had a chance to run away and hide in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with only one out. Andy Mee was called on out of the bullpen and struck out Eddie Rodriguez and Jim Jacquot in succession to keep it close.
Florence’s starter, Sean Gregory, was masterful through six innings, allowing just one hit in addition to the home run. He retired the first two men in the seventh as well before running into trouble. Bryan Burke walked and Zach Aakhus reached on an error before West’s single scored Burke, cutting the lead to one. West advanced to second on the throw to third, putting him in scoring position for Travis Weaver, who singled to score both Aakhus and West, giving Windy City their first lead of the game.
Shane Zegarac and Tyson Corley each pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen to seal the win.
Mee (3-0) picked up the win and Gregory, despite allowing just one earned run took the loss. The save was Corley’s league-leading eighth of the season.
The rubber game of the series is Sunday evening at 5:05. It is Standard Bank Family Day where fans can get four game tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for just $40. On the field, Donovan Drake will make his pro debut for Windy City against Florence’s Alec Lewis (2-2, 2.33). Anyone who cannot make it to the park can hear the game broadcast on SportsJuice.com.