JOLIET, IL – Joliet scored five early runs and coasted to a 5-3 victory over the ThunderBolts at Silver Cross Field Saturday night.
The Slammers jumped in front with a three-run first inning. Patrick Norris singled and Brad Netzel doubled, giving them a 1-0 lead just two batters into the bottom of the first. Two outs later, a throwing error on C.J. Gillman allowed two more runs to score.
Joliet added another unearned run when Josh Lyon reached on an error and Norris doubled him home. The Slammers completed their scoring in the bottom of the third on a David Christensen sacrifice fly that scored Abel Nieves, who had doubled.
Joliet starter Jim Schult retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, with Brandon Decker’s third inning single providing the only ThunderBolts baserunner through six. In the seventh, though, they loaded up the bases with no outs. Gillman reached on an error before Chad Cregar and Bob Glover singled. Zach Aakhus’ bloop hit brought home Gillman and Decker’s second hit of the game scored two more runs to make it 5-3. The Bolts were unable to get anything more, though, leaving runners at first and third.
Stephen Sauer settled down after a rocky start and allowed only three baserunners over his final four innings and Michael Click pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, but Joliet’s bullpen combined to pitch 2.2 perfect innings to lock down the win.
Schult (5-4) lasted 6.1 innings for the win, while Sauer (6-5) allowed only two earned runs over seven innings in the loss. Amalio Diaz pitched the ninth for his 16th save.
The series continues Sunday afternoon in Joliet. Game two will start at 2:05 at Silver Cross Field and Mike Recchia (8-2, 2.75) will get the start for the ThunderBolts. Joliet will counter with Steven Maxwell (5-6, 4.17). The broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.