Freedom bat around, belt two-blasts in six-run fifth inning
FLORENCE, Ky– In the opener of a two-game mid-week series, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, combined tremendous pitching with one big inning on offense in a, 6-2, victory over the Washington Wild Things on Wednesday night at UC Health Stadium.
Lefty, Mike Castellani (8-2) was marvelous on the mound for the Freedom (51-36), surrendering one unearned run en route to a quality-start victory. Washington (34-53) opened the scoring in their side of the second, one-batter after Florence short-stop, Austin Wobrock made an error that could have ended the frame. Drew Bene made the miscue hurt, rolling a base-hit to right that plated Brett Marr and gave the Wild Things an early, 1-0, edge.
Dueling left-hander, Nick Wegmann (6-7) faced one over the minimum through his first four innings, but saw the Freedom break through with a six-run fifth. Isaac Benard led-off by lining a sharp single to right-center, becoming the first of two-runners to score on an Austin Wobrock one-out, two-run double three batters later. Taylor Bryant also touched home, working a walk to reach base as the Freedom stormed in front, 2-1. Connor Crane followed the two-bagger with his tenth homer of the year, a missile that sailed into the home bullpen in right making the score, 4-1. Not the only homer in the flurry, Ricky Ramirez Jr. added a two-run shot two batters later, the score moving to, 6-1, Florence. Joining Ramirez in crossing home-plate was Luis Pintor, who doubled in the inning and finished the night, 4-4 with a pair of two-baggers and one-run scored. Florence sent all nine batters to the dish in the only run-scoring inning they would need in the contest.
Replacing Wegmann in the sixth would be right-hander, James Meeker, who tossed a pair of shut-out innings before southpaw, Zach Reid did the same in the eighth.
Florence starter, Castellani stepped aside after seven one-run innings, notching his ninth quality-start and eighth victory in the effort. The crafty-lefty did not allow an earned run, scattered eight hits and fanned three.
Following a clean inning of work by right-handed reliever, Jared Cheek, in the eighth, Sean Hughes took the ball in search of the final three-outs in the ninth. Stephen Lohr touched Hughes for a solo-homer, but the right-hander battled back to seal a four-run, 6-2, victory in game one with Washington.
These two teams will collide in the finale on Thursday, Florence sending right-handed pitcher, Zak Spivy (1-5, 2.50) to the hill opposite lefty, John Havird (5-7, 3.52) of the Things. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at UC Health Stadium.
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.