CRESTWOOD, IL – Chris Wade hit a grand slam to cap a six-run fourth, leading the ThunderBolts to an 8-5 victory over the Normal CornBelters at Standard Bank Stadium Tuesday night.
The Bolts did not get off to a strong start. They fell behind just two batters into the game when Tyler Wiesemeyer tripled and K.C. Judge brought him in on a groundout. They added two runs in the third with RBI singles from Wiesemeyer and Ernie Banks.
The ThunderBolts had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but were unable to get the big hit until the fourth.
Brandon Decker led that frame off with a solo home run, his twelfth of the year. After Bob Glover singled, Tyler Lavigne loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batsman. With one out, he walked Michael Torres to bring in a run. Wade, who had not homered in 73 career games at Standard Bank Stadium, sent a line drive over the left field wall to make it 6-3 Bolts.
Normal fought right back with two runs in the fifth, but left two men on base in the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brandon Decker doubled and, after Brandon Pearl took his place on a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch brought Pearl home and made it 7-5.
The Bolts added another insurance run in the seventh, when Decker tripled and Glover singled him in.
The CornBelters had their chances late, but stranded five baserunners in the last three innings as Michael Click, Andy Mee and Shane Zegarac combined for four shutout innings of relief.
Stephen Sauer (5-4) allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings for the win and Lavigne (3-5) gave up seven runs for the loss.
The ThunderBolts and CornBelters will wrap up their series Wednesday morning on the season’s second Big Splash Day. Blayne Weller (3-0, 3.19) will be on the hill for Windy City against Normal’s Jacob Liedka (1-5, 4.70). The game will begin at 10:35 at Standard Bank Stadium and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.