CRESTWOOD, IL – The Florence Freedom scored three runs in the first inning and a late charge from the ThunderBolts was not enough to overcome the early deficit in a 7-5 loss at Standard Bank Stadium Tuesday night.
Florence (19-9) took the lead just five pitches into the game as Daniel Fraga singled and Ozzy Braff doubled him in. After Andre Mercurio singled, a passed ball scored Braff and advanced Mercurio to third. He scored on a Collins Cuthrell groundout to make the score 3-0.
The ThunderBolts (17-12) got their first run in the fourth inning. Blair Beck singled and Ransom LaLonde doubled him home to cut the Florence lead to two.
Jake Fisher retired 12 of 13 after the first inning rally but ran into trouble once more in the sixth. Braff walked, Jose Brizuela singled and Mercurio came up with an RBI base hit. Cuthrell followed with another and Jordan Brower’s groundout scored Mercurio as Florence took a 6-1 lead.
A Brizuela RBI double in the seventh extended the lead to 7-1.
The Bolts showed life in the seventh inning. David Kerian singled and back-to-back doubles for Ransom LaLonde and Austin Darby made the score 7-3. A walk and hit batsman loaded the bases with no outs but Pete Levitt limited the damage to a Coco Johnson sacrifice fly and Tim Zier RBI groundout. That was all they would get as the last nine ThunderBolt hitters were retired.
Tony Vocca (4-2) allowed one run in six innings for the win while Fisher (2-2) took the loss, allowing five earned runs in six innings.
The ThunderBolts and Freedom battle in game two of the series Wednesday night. Florence’s Marty Anderson (2-1,2.78) makes the start. The ThunderBolts have not yet named a starter. After the game, there will be a fireworks show sponsored by Georgio's Banquets, Quality Inn & Suites Conference Centre. First pitch from Standard Bank Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 and the game broadcast can be heard through wcthunderbolts.com.