Pitching takes center-stage in mid-week four gamer
CRESTWOOD, Ill– Squaring off in a true day/night doubleheader, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, grabbed their second win in a row, 6-5, before falling to the Windy City Thunderbolts, 3-1, in the night-cap, ultimately landing a series split in a mid-week four game set at Ozinga Field.
Windy City (28-35) took an early lead off Freedom (40-25) lefty, Scott Sebald (5-1) in game one, getting a two-out, two-run shot from Chase Cockrell after a Brynn Martinez single in the first, giving the Bolts a, 2-0, lead after one.
Andre Mercurio helped make it a one-run game in the fourth, unloading on his third round-tripper of the year, a solo-shot to right off Tyler Thornton (4-2) to make the score, 2-1.
The Thunderbolts would take their largest lead of the game in the bottom of the frame, using a two-run homer from Tyler Alamo to jump ahead, 4-1, moving into the fifth.
Pulling within two in the fifth, Freedom RBI-leader Connor Crane, plated his forty fourth run of the season via a single, scoring Luis Pintor after he led-off the inning with a hit-by-pitch as the score became, 4-2. A four-spot off Thornton in the sixth gave Florence their first lead at, 6-4. Austin Wobrock started the surge with a hustle double that bounced off second base before landing in shallow right-center. Caleb Lopes quickly made it count, connecting on an RBI-single that scored Wobrock and made it a one-run affair. After Mercurio reached on a fielder’s choice, Ricky Ramirez Jr. laced a triple to right-center, scratching Mercurio as the game stalemated at four. Luis Pintor pushed the Freedom ahead, lacing a double to the gap plating Ramirez, before later scoring on a wild pitch to give the visitors a two-run edge. Thornton would exit in the middle of the frame, but was charged all six runs on his way to loss number two of the season. Both losses for the 2019 All-Star, Thornton, have come at the hands of the Freedom.
Sebald would exit after six frames, allowing just one more run than a quality start would allow, as the lefty totaled a final line of 6 four-run innings, five scattered hits, three walks and eight whiffs in victory.
The Bolts got one back in their side of the seventh, touching relief pitcher, Zak Spivy for a run thanks to a sacrifice-fly from Martinez, bringing the score to, 6-5, the eventual final. Once righty, Patrick Baker logged a clean inning and two thirds in relief behind Spivy, Ryan Mordecai took over in the ninth, converting his first save of the season.
Game two would go the way of Windy City, as the home team plated a pair en route to a, 2-0, lead in the bottom of the fourth. Making his Freedom debut on the same day he signed, southpaw, George Faue (0-1) surrendered the two runs via an Alamo sacrifice-fly, and an ensuing RBI-single by Taisei Fukuhara. Cockrell
Luis Pintor sailed his third homer of the year over the wall in left-center in the Freedom side of the seventh, the long-ball chasing starter, Hayden Shenefield (1-0) from the game with a quality-start of his own. In his first start of the year, Shenefield tossed six one-run innings surrendering five hits and one walk while adding four strikeouts. The score would remain, 3-1, as Randy Perez dazzled in relief, fanning eight of a possible nine outs in three brilliant innings on his way to the save in the two-run win for Windy City.
The Freedom will travel through the night to Marion, Ill where a three-game set with the Southern Illinois Miners will take place at Rent One Park beginning on Friday. A pair of TBD starters will take the ball on both sides, with first pitch slated for 7:05 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 florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.