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Freedom foil ThunderBolts, 5-3

FLORENCE, Kent. -- Andy Clark settled down after a rough start to strike out 10 batters over seven strong innings, leading the host Florence Freedom (25-24) to a 5-3 victory over the Windy City ThunderBolts (25-23) at Champion Window Field on Friday night.

Mike Coles and Brett Amyx knocked home runs off of Clark (4-0) in the first two innings for Windy City in building a 3-0 lead, the sixth roundtripper of the season for each. But the Freedom answered with five unanswered runs in the season series opener between the two teams.

Adam Dominick (2-2) suffered the loss for the ThunderBolts in relief of starter Mike Eisenberg. Dominick walked in the tying run to end a three-run fourth inning before serving up the go-ahead RBI single to rightfielder Johnny Welch in the fifth inning.

Welch finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI.

The ThunderBolts loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning against Florence closer Cody Castle, but Josh Horn grounded into a game-ending double play.

The contest featured the Windy City debuts for two new acquisitions on Friday: second baseman Ryan Giblin, signed earlier in the day, and left-hander Ben Foster, traded from Evansville. Giblin struck out in both of his at-bats while Foster gave up a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

The 'Bolts and Freedom play the second game of the series on Saturday night at 5:05 p.m. CDT.  Right-hander Stephen Flake (4-1, 3.60) will start for Windy City against Florence left-hander Stephen Shao (1-3, 4.95).

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