CRESTWOOD, IL – Ty Stetson’s walk-off hit in the ninth scored Andrew Brauer from third and gave the ThunderBolts a 4-3 win over the Gateway Grizzlies at Standard Bank Stadium Friday night.
The Bolts had an uphill climb as they fell behind 2-0 in the first inning. After Jonathan Johnson led off the game with a single, he scored on Landon Hernandez’s two-out double. Michael Wing followed with a single to score Hernandez.
The ThunderBolts cut the Gateway lead in half with a run in the third. Brauer led off with a double and stood at third with two outs when Ryan Soares hit a groundball under Niko Vasquez’s glove for a run-scoring error.
The Grizzlies added to their lead in the sixth, again with two outs. Wing, who had doubled earlier in the inning, scored on Xavier Macklin’s base hit making it 3-1.
Windy City scored their second run in the seventh. Matt Scioscia doubled with two outs, and his pinch runner, Brandon Hohl, came in on a Brauer single.
It remained 3-2 into the ninth as the Grizzlies brought in their closer, Richard Barrett, who had not allowed a hit in seven innings this year. Doug Joyce led off with a single, his third hit of the night, and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Brauer lined a base hit to right field, scoring Joyce and tying the score at three. Brauer then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Stetson followed with his game-winning hit.
Victor Larez (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the win and Barrett (0-1) took the loss. Travis Tingle, who started the game for Windy City, struck out a career-high nine.
The ThunderBolts will try to make it two in a row against the Grizzlies on Saturday. Jason Kafka (0-0, 2.89) will make the start for Windy City against Gateway’s JaVaun West (3-0, 0.92). Following the game, Georgio’s Comfort Inn will present a postgame fireworks show. Fans not in attendance can hear the broadcast WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.