MARION, IL – The ThunderBolts scored three runs in the first inning, but were shut out from that point on and dropped game one of a three game series to the Southern Illinois Miners, 8-3 at Rent One Park on Saturday night.
The game could not have started any better for Windy City as Brandon Anderson led off with a triple. He scored on Mike Torres’ single. Zach Aakhus followed that up with his second home run of the year, and three batters into the game, the Bolts led 3-0.
That turned out to be all the offense they would produce, and for the second straight time out, starter Matt Jernstad struggled to get outs.
The Southern Illinois offensive machine began whirring in the bottom of the first when they scored three runs. Jernstad walked Josh Womack and Jereme Milons before both Sean Coughlin and Ken Gregory came up with doubles to tie the game.
Things got worse for Windy City in the second, when the Miners scored three more times, benefitted again by two walks. Womack and Coughlin came up with the RBI hits in that inning.
In the third inning, the Miners extended their lead to 7-3 when Boomer Blanchard singled home Will Block, who had doubled, and chased Jernstad from the game.
John Mincone, making his ThunderBolts debut, was perhaps the biggest bright spot for the Windy City team. He came out of the bullpen to throw 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in his time in the game. Overall, the Bolts’ pen allowed just one run in 5.1 innings.
Offensively, the ThunderBolts barely threatened after the first. Chase Porch twice singled and reached third with two outs, but did not score. In the ninth, Chad Cregar doubled and Larry Pempek walked with one out, but Ricky McGraw retired the next two hitters to end Windy City’s chances.
Joe Augustine, making his first start since May 24, picked up the win (1-1) while Jernstad took the loss (3-5).
Game two of the series at Rent One Park takes place at 7:05 on Sunday night. The game will feature Matt Costello (2-2) pitching for the Bolts against Southern Illinois’ Brendon Malkowski (4-2). It can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.