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Bolts lose middle match with Joliet in home run derby

JOLIET, IL – Zac Taylor hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to send the ThunderBolts to extra innings in Joliet but the host Slammers outhomered the ThunderBolts 7-1 in the tiebreaking home run derby to even the series at DuPage Medical Group Field Saturday night.

For the second straight night, the first half of the game went by as a great pitchers’ duel. Bryan Ketchie, starting for the ThunderBolts (35-41) entered the fifth inning having retired 11 of the previous 12 hitters, but Joliet (28-47) broke through with three hits in the fifth. An RBI single for Scott Holzwasser and an RBI groundout for Dave Matthews put them ahead 2-0.

The ThunderBolts had more success getting base runners than Joliet but struggled to come through with the big hit. In the first seven innings, they stranded nine men on base and went 1-for-16 with runners on.

Finally in the ninth, they got on the board. Rob Weissheier was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Taylor followed with a long fly to left that tied the score at two.

In the tenth, Dan Robinson’s sacrifice fly put the Bolts ahead 3-2 but Joliet responded with a Kyle Jacobsen sacrifice fly that evened the score again. Jordan Rathbone followed with a two-out double but Garrett Christman, who pitched five strong innings out of the Windy City bullpen, stranded him to force the home run derby.

The first two hitters for the ThunderBolts in the derby managed just one homer. Carson Maxwell, Joliet’s second batter, hit five on his own to clinch the win for the Slammers.

The ThunderBolts and Slammers wrap up their series with game three on Sunday afternoon. Miguel Ausua (6-4, 4.98) gets the start for the Bolts and Joliet counters with Chris Roycroft (3-1, 4.28). First pitch from DuPage Medical Group Field is scheduled for 1:05 and links to the audio and video broadcasts can be found at wcthunderbolts.com.

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