Tyler Gibson strikes out a career-best eight batters in route to fourth win

FLORENCE, Ky. – Fresh off a walk-off victory in the opener of this four-game series, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, continued to wreak havoc at the plate as the Freedom beat the Gateway Grizzlies, 8-5, Saturday night at UC Health Stadium.

The Grizzlies (15-22) started the scoring in their second at-bat off Freedom (24-12) starter, Tyler Gibson (4-1), plating a trio of runs on four singles, giving the visitors a 3-0 edge.  Christian Funk and Tyler Plantier earning the RBI’s on two one-baggers that scored one and two runs respectively.

Luis Pintor stole his sixteenth bag of the year after working a lead-off walk from Jordan Barrett (1-4) in the bottom of the second.  Barrett would balk Pintor to third, before Austin Wobrock made it a two-run game with a ground-out to first that scored the runner from third as the score moved to, 3-1.  Catapulting in front by four, the Freedom sent eleven men to the plate in a six-run bottom of the third.  Barrett walked three of the first four batters he faced in the frame, the last of which plated a run as Caleb Lopes made his way to first.  Ricky Ramirez Jr. followed immediately with a two-run single, extending his hitting streak to twelve games, as the Freedom took their first lead, 4-3.  The scoring continued one batter later when Pintor laced a single that scored Lopes and made it a two-run game.  Continuing the trend, Jackson Pritchard drove a sacrifice-fly to left, scoring Ramirez Jr. ahead of an RBI-single from Wobrock that pushed the Freedom advantage to, 7-3.  The RBI knock made it five-straight Freedom hitters to record an RBI in the onslaught.  Barrett would not come back out in the fourth inning, finishing his start having allowed six earned runs on five Florence hits, with four walks and two strikeouts in three innings of work.

Gateway pulled within two, scratching across a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning.  Tyler Plantier led off with a single but would be standing on second after the play as Lopes threw wildly from second, the ball landing in the stands, awarding Plantier an extra base.  A Dustin Woodcock single would put runners on the corners for Brent Sakurai.  Sakurai proceeded to hit a line-drive to left that was dropped by Isaac Benard, allowing the first run of the frame to cross home plate, pulling the Grizzlies within three at, 7-4.  Gibson retired the next two hitters in order before Connor Owings tallied an RBI-single to cut the Freedom lead to, 7-5.

Gibson would face the minimum in the sixth, handing the ball to Karl Craigie in the seventh.  The right-hander corralled his fifth quality start in eight outings, spanning six frames and allowing three earned runs on seven Gateway hits, with no walks and a career-best eight strikeouts in the winning effort.

The Freedom would score the final run of the night in the bottom of the fifth, using a Pintor double and a Jackson Pritchard ground-out to short to move an insurance run ninety feet away from home plate.  Pintor would score on a Thomas Nicoll wild pitch as the score became, 8-5, the eventual final.

After two strong innings of relief from Craigie and Ryan Mordecai, who totaled four strikeouts, Johnathon Tripp slammed the door in the ninth to collect his seventh save of the season.

The Freedom and Grizzlies will collide in game three of this wrap-around weekend series on Sunday night at UC Health Stadium.  Lefty, Scott Sebald (1-0, 3.85 ERA), will make the start for Florence, while the Grizzlies counter with right-hander Chris Carden (3-1, 4.57), with first pitch slated for 5:35 p.m.

The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY.  The Freedom can be found online at, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.

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