Freedom offense unloads in opening game victory

FLORENCE, Ky– In game one of a weekend four-game series, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, matched phenomenal pitching with electric offense in a, 10-5, victory over the Washington Wild Things on Friday night at UC Health Stadium.

Southpaw, George Faue (1-1) set an early tone for Florence (43-28), spinning a quick first inning that would set the stage for eight shut-out frames on his way to a complete game victory, his first with the Freedom.

Making his fourth start for Washington (29-41) was right-hander, Nick Gallagher (1-2) who allowed nine hits and seven runs, six earned, over four complete innings in the contest.

The home team brought a hot offense from the get-go, as Caleb Lopes turned on his sixth homer of the year in the bottom of the first, helping Florence claim a, 1-0 edge. The Freedom stayed hot in the second, Ricky Ramirez Jr. plating his first of three runs on the night with an RBI-single that scored Jackson Pritchard, after the latter reached on a two-base error in left field by Blake Adams.Trevor Craport knocked in his first Freedom run later in the frame, shooting a single past short to push Ramirez Jr. across as the Florence lead grew to, 3-0, after two.

Taylor Bryant made it three consecutive scoring-innings in the home side of the third, launching his fourth dinger of the year out to left, extending the Freedom lead to four. Luis Pintor continued his hot hitting in the bottom of inning number four, cashing in an earlier walk to Ramirez Jr. with an RBI-one bagger to straight away center field, the score becoming, 5-0. Once Andre Mercurio reached on a fielder’s choice, Kenny Meimerstoff laced his first of two doubles for the game to plate two more Freedom runs, Pintor and Mercurio touching home as Florence upped their lead to, 7-0.

Lefty, Zach Reid took over on the hill for the Wild Things in the fifth, tossing a pair of scoreless frames before bloodying his line in his final inning work in the seventh. Florence wore five pitches in the affair, two of which came in back-to-back at-bats in the frame, loading the bases for Ramirez Jr. The hitter came through, knocking a two-run single to up the advantage to nine.

With right-hander, James Meeker on the slab in the bottom of the eighth, Mercurio and Meimerstorf teamed up to increase the Freedom edge again, ripping a single and double, respectively, to move the game to, 10-0, ahead of the ninth.

Faue would spare the bullpen with a gritty ninth inning performance in which five runs would cross for the Wild Things. Hector Roa broke up the shut-out with a towering three-run drive to left-center, before Cameron Baranek added a two-out, two-run smash, helping Washington cut the deficit in half, 10-5. Powering through the barrage, Faue retired Brett Marr to put the five-run victory on ice.

Going the distance, the lefty racked up nine strikeouts and one walk, allowing just the five earned runs in the ninth while scattering nine hits in his first win.

This weekend four game series will continue with a day-night doubleheader on Saturday. The probable starters for game one are rightyZak Spivy (0-4, 2.76) for Florence, opposite southpaw, Nick Wegmann (4-5, 3.34) of the Wild Things with first pitch slated for 12:05 p.m. The night-cap will begin at 6:05 p.m. and feature an all lefty match-up that pits Freedom starter, Mike Castellani (6-2, 2.74) against Josh Lapiana (0-1, 4.18) at UC Health Stadium.


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