CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts lost late leads in three games during their recent road trip. This time it was the Bolts rallying in the final innings to erase a 3-2 deficit in the seventh, coming away with a 5-3 victory over the Rockford RiverHawks at Standard Bank Stadium Monday night.
Rockford scored first, getting a bunt single and a stolen base from David Cooper before Jake Eigsti singled him in.
Matt Costello was brilliant after that, allowing just one hit over the next four innings.
Meanwhile, Costello’s counterpart, Alex Szymanski had control issues early, walking three batters and hitting two others in the second and third innings. The Bolts stranded three runners in the second, but capitalized with the bases loaded in the third. Chris Wade walked in one run and Chad Cregar was hit by a pitch to score another.
Szymanski settled in after that creating a good pitchers’ duel through the middle innings. It wasn’t until the seventh that someone finally scored again. Rockford got a double from Carlos Dominguez, then, with two outs, Freddy Parejo walked and Cooper singled to load the bases. Costello departed and Wes Alsup entered, quickly giving up a single to Eigsti, which gave the RiverHawks a 3-2 lead.
It seemed like déjà vu for the ThunderBolts who had struggled to hold late leads, but they had a comeback of their own in the bottom of the seventh. With runners at the corners and no outs, Chris Wade hit a grounder to Eigsti, who threw home to cut down Devin Shepherd. Cregar followed with a grounder that nearly ended the inning, but he beat the relay throw to keep it alive for Chase Porch. Porch knocked a double to left field, scoring Ryan Basham and Cregar to reclaim the lead, 4-3.
The Bolts added an insurance run in the eighth on a Zach Aakhus sacrifice fly. Bradley Blanks was called on for the ninth and pitched a perfect inning to secure his fourth save of the year.
Alsup received the win in relief (1-1) while Tyler Hyde allowed the two seventh inning runs to take the loss (1-2)
Windy City and Rockford are back in action at Standard Bank Stadium on Tuesday, 2-for-1 Ticket Tuesday. The pitching matchup will feature Windy City’s Todd Privett (2-1) against Rockford’s Drew Rucinski, making his first pro start. The game will begin at 7:05 and can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.