MARION, IL – The ThunderBolts went to extra innings for the second straight night but this time, a six-run rally in the top of the 11th led to an 8-3 win over the Southern Illinois Miners at Rent One Park Friday night.
Southern Illinois (25-39) jumped on ThunderBolts starter Zac Westcott early as Brett Wiley singled in the first inning and Nolan Earley followed with a two-run homer.
Those were the only runs Westcott would allow in the game, as he threw six shutout innings after the first, at one point retiring 15 out of 16 batters.
Tyler Stubblefield was just as good for the Miners. He held the Bolts’ bats in check for seven inning, facing only one tough inning. They loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a single but didn’t score.
Windy City (35-28) broke through in the eighth as Blair Beck hit a leadoff double. Stubblefield departed and Keenyn Walker singled off of Paul Young to move Beck to third. Walker stole second and both runners scored when Riley Krane reached on an error to tie the game at two.
Neither team could break the tie over the next three innings as the Bolts left six on base between the eighth and tenth and the Miners stranded three.
In the 11th, Corey Bass began at second base. He scored the go-ahead run on a Coco Johnson single. Walker followed with an RBI double and Krane hit a sacrifice fly. Larry Balkwill kept the inning going with an RBI base hit and, after back-to-back walks loaded the bases, Bass doubled home two more runs to make it 8-2.
Southern Illinois scored their tiebreaker runner in the bottom of the inning but went down in order against Josh Glick, who improved to 3-0 with two strong innings of relief. Damon Proctor (0-3) allowed six runs (five earned) in two innings to take the loss.
The ThunderBolts and Miners play game two of their series on Saturday. TJ Santiago (1-3, 6.67) gets the start against the Miners’ Zach Cooper (2-8, 6.02). First pitch from Rent One Park is scheduled for 4:05 and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.
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