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Big first inning knocks out ThunderBolts

Grizzlies 8 Bolts 5

 SAUGET, IL – The Gateway Grizzlies scored six runs in the first and the ThunderBolts were never able to recover in an 8-5 loss at GCS Ballpark Sunday night. The loss drops the Bolts five games out of the playoffs with nine games to go.

The Grizzlies sent 12 men to the plate in their six-run first and eight of the first nine men reached base. Jonathan Johnson started with a single and Michael Wing doubled. Chris McClendon walked to load the bases before Landon Hernandez singled home two runs to start the scoring. A Michael Pair sacrifice fly and back-to-back doubles from Jon Myers and Alex Guthrie kept the pressure on the Bolts and Jet Butler’s two-run single capped the scoring. Travis Tingle was lifted after retiring just one of nine batters and Colin O’Connell got out of the first, leaving the bases loaded.

The Bolts got one back the following inning when Chad Cregar was hit by a pitch and Zach Aakhus singled. Andrew Brauer’s single scored Cregar to make it 6-1.

O’Connell retired 12 straight into the fifth, but surrendered a Myers home run, his 20th of the year, to make it 7-1.

The ThunderBolts fought back using the long ball as well. Ryan Soares singled in front of a Cregar home run in the sixth and Miles Walding walked in front of Evan Button’s homer the following inning. The two two-run shots made the score 7-5.

Windy City would put the tying run on base in the eighth, but Zac Treece struck out Jayce Ray to end the threat and they went down quietly in the ninth.

Jose Flores’s solo homer in the eighth made the final score 8-5.

Jake Stephens (5-2) allowed three runs in 5.2 innings for the win and Tingle (4-6) recorded only one out in the loss. Justin Erasmus earned his 18th save.

The ThunderBolts will take Monday off before starting their final home series of the year on Tuesday against the first-place team in the East, the Lake Erie Crushers. Markus Solbach (3-1, 3.62) will start for the Bolts against Lake Erie’s Matt Smith (5-4, 3.85). First pitch from Standard Bank Stadium is at 7:05 and the broadcast can be found on wcthunderbolts.com.

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