CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts scored two runs in the first inning and never trailed as Kenny Mathews threw a strong six innings, guiding the ThunderBolts to a 4-1 win over the Joliet Slammers in front of 2,412 fans at Ozinga Field Saturday night.
The Slammers (39-50) had the game’s first scoring chance when Dash Winningham singled in the top of the first and Harrison Bragg followed up with a double. Winningham was thrown out between third base and home and the ThunderBolts (38-52) took advantage, claiming the lead in the bottom of the inning.
They had four straight one-out base runners as Brynn Martinez doubled and Tanner Gardner walked. Tyler Alamo drove in Martinez on a double and Micah Coffey singled home Gardner.
They scored another run in a similar fashion in the fifth. Three straight singles culminated in an Alamo RBI that made the score 3-0.
Joliet got a bloop double to begin the sixth and Jacob Crum’s RBI single with two outs got the Slammers on the board. That was the only run they scored off of Mathews, though. He struck out seven over six innings.
The ThunderBolts put the game away in the bottom of the eighth when, with two outs, Taisei Fukuhara tripled and Michael Mateja singled him home to cap the lead at three.
Mathews improved to 4-9 with the win and three relievers combined on three shutout innings to finish it off. Daren Osby (3-6) was the losing pitcher. He allowed three runs in 6.1 innings.
The series rubber match is scheduled for 2:05 on Sunday afternoon. It is the last JULIE, Inc. Family Sunday of the year and it will feature a petting zoo from Animals for Awareness. Tyler Thornton (6-3, 2.70) will get the start for the ThunderBolts. Fans not at Ozinga Field can hear the action through wcthunderbolts.com.
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