08/18/2021 10:58 PM
SAUGET, IL – Jace Mercer’s three-run homer in the ninth inning powered the Windy City ThunderBolts to a 4-2 win over the Gateway Grizzlies on Wednesday night at GCS Ballpark. The victory evened the series at one game apiece.
Except for the second inning, most of the night was owned by pitching. Bolts (33-40) starter Tyler Thornton and Gateway (33-40) starter Geoff Bramblett both pitched into the seventh inning.
Both pitchers gave up their only run(s) in the second inning. Jace Mercer reached on a one-out walk, stole second then scored on Zac Taylor’s RBI single. The Grizzlies didn’t trail for long. Two Thornton walks setup Ty Moore’s game-tying RBI ground out. The next hitter, Justin Jones, singled to right, giving Gateway a 2-1 advantage.
The starters ended up getting no decisions. Thornton’s night finished after 6.2 innings, giving up the two runs on five hits, walking six and striking out five. Bramblett tossed seven innings, yielding one run.
In the ninth, with Carter Hayes on to pitch for Gateway, the Bolts got two runners on via walks. With one out, Mercer hit a line drive over the four-foot-high wall in right field for a go-ahead home run, the first round tripper of his professional career.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brayden Bonner closed out his third save in four pro outings. That earned the win for Layne Schnitz-Paxton (2-2), who fired 1.1 innings of scoreless ball. The loss went to Hayes (2-2).
The Bolts and Grizzlies play the finale of the series Thursday night, beginning at 6:45 CT. For live coverage and tickets, fans can visit wcthunderbolts.com.
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