CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts and River City Rascals traded runs in the middle innings with River City coming out on top, 4-3 in the opener of a three-game series at Ozinga Field Friday night.
The Bolts’ Chris Washington and River City’s Taylor Ahearn got off to great starts to set up a pitchers’ duel as both teams were held to two base runners over the first four innings.
The Rascals (28-23) struck the first blow in the top of the fifth as Zach Lavy singled and James Morisano doubled him home.
In the bottom of the inning, the ThunderBolts (22-29) fought back. Cal Aldridge picked up their first hit of the game, a leadoff single, and Micah Coffey followed with a walk. Brett Coffel was unable to bunt them both over, but he did reach on a fielder’s choice. Tyler Straub followed with an RBI base hit that tied the score. Later in the inning, Coffel came home on a wild pitch that gave the Bolts their first lead.
Three singles in the top of the sixth inning for River City tied the score. Then they took the lead for good with two in the seventh. Morisano scored the go-ahead run with a single and two stolen bases before a throwing error brought him home. Andrew Penner followed with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.
The ThunderBolts made it interesting in the eighth with back-to-back singles from Omar Obregon and Brynn Martinez putting runners at the corners with no outs. Tyler Alamo’s RBI base hit put the tying run in scoring position, but Tanner Cable struck out the next three batters, ending the Bolts’ last threat.
Andrew Vernon (1-1) pitched two innings of relief and got the win while Washington (1-5) allowed four runs in 6.1 innings with nine strikeouts and no walk in the loss.
Tyler Thornton (4-1, 2.11) goes to the mound for the Bolts as the series continues on Saturday. River City will counter with Travis McQueen (3-0, 4.10). It’s Country Night at Ozinga Field with a pregame concert from the Scott Marek Band and a postgame fireworks show. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05.
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