Lefty, Scott Sebald logs 6.2 hit-less innings as Florence shuts-out Gateway
SAUGET, Ill– A new winning streak begins as the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, blanked the Gateway Grizzlies, 5-0, on Saturday night at GCS Credit Union Ballpark. The win marks the third in a row for the Freedom, who now improve to (9-0) against the Grizzlies in 2019.
Scoring first has been a good omen for the Freedom (37-17), who jumped on the board in the top of the first thanks in part to two Gateway (21-32) errors. Caleb Lopes roped a double to left-center off, Dominic Tapoozian (4-4) but wound up at third when Anthony Ray struggled to find the handle as the ball bounced off the wall in the power-alley. The very next batter, Ricky Ramirez Jr., reached on an error by second baseman, Gunnar Buhner, as Lopes crossed home-plate to give Florence the early one-run edge, 1-0.
Southpaw, Scott Sebald (3-1) was dominant on the mound for the Freedom, retiring the side in order over his first four perfect frames.
Florence would add to their lead in the top of the third, scoring twice to make the score, 3-0. Connor Crane started the rally with his first of two hits on the night, a double, before Lopes notched his twelfth multi-hit game of the year two batters later, with a single to center that put runners on the edges. Ramirez Jr. found a gap in right-center next, scoring both runners as it became a three-run game. In the top of the fifth, Florence made it, 5-0, using an Isaac Benard RBI-double that scored Crane after a single to lead-off the frame. Luis Pintor would plate Benard, lacing his second one-bagger of the night to push the Freedom ahead by five, where the advantaged remained for the duration. Tapoozian was yanked in the frame, right-hander, Thomas Nicoll called upon with two outs left in the inning. Tapoozian would finish with a final line of 4.1 innings, surrendering ten hits that led to five runs, four earned with 1 walk and two strikeouts.
Sebald would not allow a base-runner until the bottom of the fifth, when he beaned Luke Lowery to spoil his perfection. Lowery would wreck the no-hitter two innings later with two outs in the seventh, bleeding a single over first base for the first of only two Grizzlies hits on the night. The left-hander would attempt to go the distance, finding the first out in the ninth before walking two batters in a row. Freedom manager, Dennis Pelfrey, opted to go to the bullpen there, summoning righty, Zak Spivy to find the final two outs of the ballgame. Spivy faced just two batters, salting away the, 5-0, Florence win. Sebald finished with a masterful final line of 8.1 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 2 walks and 6 whiffs. The win was the lefty’s third of the season. 5 Freedom batters earned multi-hit games in the showcase, all two-hit affairs.
The Freedom are now 25-4 in games they score first in 2019, and the middle-game victory nets the club their thirteen series win in eighteen chances.
The visitors will look for a series sweep in the Sunday finale at GCS Credit Union Ballpark, with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. CST. Freedom ace, Tyler Gibson (7-1, 3.49) will toe the rubber opposite righty, Chris Carden (4-1, 4.02) in Sauget, Ill.
The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all homegames at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.