08/26/2017 8:08 PM
CRESTWOOD, IL – Ryan Budnick hit two doubles and drove in three runs in his first professional start as the ThunderBolts scored seven runs in the first three innings to pull away from the Washington Wild Things for a 9-3 win in front of 3,386 fans at Standard Bank Stadium Saturday night.
Washington (46-42) struck first on a Kyle Pollock home run in the top of the second inning but the ThunderBolts (48-41) responded immediately with a Larry Balkwill homer in the bottom of the frame. The Bolts added two more runs as Corey Bass and Ransom LaLonde singled and both scored on Budnick’s first double.
Seven Wild Things came to the plate in the top of the third as they came back to tie the score. Kyle Reese doubled and James Harris reached on an error. Reese scored on a Rashad Brown sacrifice fly and Harris crossed the plate on Hector Roa’s single.
It was all ThunderBolts after that. Corey Bass drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the third to put the Bolts back in front. Tim Zier scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3 and LaLonde followed with a sacrifice fly. Budnick’s RBI double put them ahead 7-3.
Back-to-back doubles for Coco Johnson and Zier added to the lead in the fourth inning and Johnson’s solo homer pushed it to 9-3 in the sixth.
After a shaky start, Zac Westcott settled down and retired 13 of his final 16 hitters faced. Westcott (8-4) allowed just one earned run in 7.2 innings for the win. Aaron Burns (4-3) lasted only 2.1 innings and took the loss. He allowed seven runs.
The win kept the ThunderBolts 1.5 games ahead of Washington for the final playoff spot with seven games remaining.
The rubber match is scheduled for Sunday night. Patrick Ledet (1-1, 3.57) gets the start for the Bolts against Washington’s Chase Cunningham (9-3, 3.81). It is Family Day at Standard Bank Stadium, featuring a petting zoo courtesy of Animal Quest – Chicago. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.
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