EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Mike Coles highlighted a three-run ninth inning rally with a two-run tie-breaking single, leading the Windy City ThunderBolts (56-36) to a 7-4 victory over the Evansville Otters (39-53) on Saturday night at Bosse Field.
With the win, the ThunderBolts maintained a first place tie atop the West Division with the similarly-victorious Southern Illinois Miners.
Evansville spot-starter Dustin Renfrow allowed two hits over five strong shutout innings as the Otters built leads of 3-0 and 4-2.
In the eighth inning, Phil Hawke's 22nd home run of the season and Justin Tellam's RBI single helped the ThunderBolts tie the score at 4-4.
After Brian McCullough (3-5) hurled a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Windy City set about taking its first lead of the game.
Scott Billak singled and Gilberto Mejia and Mike Sullivan each drew walks to load the bases with none out against Otters closer Justin Smith (1-2). Coles followed with a soft line drive into left-center, plating both Billak and Mejia for a 6-4 lead. Hawke's single reloaded the bases, but Wes Long popped out for the first out.
Josh Horn followed by skying a foul ball toward the expansive left side foul territory where shortstop Casey Gordon made a running catch. Mike Sullivan tagged and scored on the play, while Coles and Hawke each moved up a base on Gordon's throw home. Coles rounded third base a little too far, drawing a throw from Evansville catcher Tom Pennino. In the ensuing play at third base, the ThunderBolts baserunner was ruled safe. The call incensed the Otters and manager Jason Verdugo, ejected from the game following a demonstration of his disapproval.
Windy City closer Matt Petty recorded the final three outs for his 14th save of the season.
The ThunderBolts look for the road sweep at 6:05 p.m. on Sunday at Bosse Field; right-hander Amos Ramon takes to the mound for Windy City against Evansville right-hander Mike Damchuk.
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