FLORENCE, Ky. — In the midst of winning two series in seventy-two hours, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, routed the Southern Illinois Miners, 15-4, Thursday night at UC Health Stadium.
The Miners (26-21) struck first on a Gianfranco Wawoe fielder’s choice off Mike Castellani (6-1), scoring Joe Duncan from third, who led off the game with as the visitor’s moved ahead, 1-0.
Isaac Benard extended his hitting streak to eight games after a lead off double in the bottom of the first. Benard stole third base in the following at-bat, allowing Caleb Lopes to drive in Benard on a ground out to third to even the score at one apiece. The Freedom (34-14) continued scoring in the third, plating five runs while batting around for the first of three times in the finale. Back-to-back doubles by Benard and Luis Pintor off Austin Dubsky (4-3) made the score, 3-1, before Andre Mercurio laced a two-bagger off the wall in right center, that plated one more. Jackson Pritchard added another run to the ledger on a double play to increase Florence’s lead to, 5-1. Austin Wobrock drove in Mercurio on an RBI-single extending the Freedom lead to, 6-1.
Dubsky only lasted three innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits, fanning three and walking three.
The onslaught continued in the bottom of the sixth when Florence batted around for the second time. Pintor started the barrage rifling a double, that plated Taylor Bryant. Lopes followed with a double of his own, scoring Pintor to increase the margin, 8-1. Mercurio collected his second hit of the night, driving in Lopes before Pritchard earned his first multi-hit game of the season with an RBI-single to extending their lead to, 10-1.
Southern Illinois scored three runs on four hits in the top of the seventh frame with Cletis Avery earning two RBI’s on a double while Anthony Jimenez plated one more with a two-out single.
Florence batted around for the third and final time in the bottom of the seventh, scratching five more runs across on two hits. With the bases loaded, Lopes got hit by a pitch for the second time on the night, bringing home Bryant, who worked a walk to start the inning. One batter later, Mercurio made the score, 12-3, lifting a sacrifice fly to left as Benard slid in safely to make it a nine run game. Pritchard drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded, plating Pintor adding one more to the total, followed by a Wobrock RBI-single, bringing in Lopes and Ramirez Jr. pushing the Freedom lead to, 15-3, the eventual final.
The Freedom will return to the field on Friday, finishing a suspended game with the Crushers before a nine inning nightcap that will start at 7:05 p.m. at UC Health Stadium. Southern Illinois will return to the comfy confines of Rent One Park for a weekend series with the Gateway Grizzlies.
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.