CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts scored five early runs and held off a late Joliet charge to defeat the Slammers 5-4 at Standard Bank Stadium Sunday night.
Windy City got on the board in the third inning when Brandon Pearl reached on a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. With two outs, Pearl was brought home on a Mike Torres single. Not content for just one run, Chris Wade singled on the infield and both he and Torres moved up a base on a steal. Chad Cregar’s single scored both of them on a single to make it 3-0. Jareck West finished the four-run rally with a triple to right-center, scoring Cregar from first.
The ThunderBolts added another run the following inning. Zach Aakhus led off with a single and was at second with two outs when Bob Glover doubled him in. All five ThunderBolt runs were scored with two outs.
Blayne Weller had only allowed one hit through four innings, but Josh Lyon led off the fifth with a single. Kyle Maunus walked and they both advanced on a sacrifice. Lyon scored on a Brad Netzel groundout and Jimmy Waters’ single scored Maunus, making it 5-2.
The Slammers added another run in the seventh when Zach Mandelblatt hit a bases loaded groundout to bring in Trey Manz, who had walked. Andy Mee came on with runners at second and third and struck out Hector Pellot to avoid further damage.
Joliet came within one in the eighth inning on a Lyon RBI single, but Shane Zegarac pitched a perfect ninth to seal the final score of 5-4.
Weller (1-0) went 6.1 innings for the win and Tommy Mendoza (3-3) allowed all five runs over six innings, taking the loss. Zegarac earned his fourth save.
The ThunderBolts will go for a sweep of the Slammers on Monday morning. It will be the first Big Splash Day of the season at Standard Bank Stadium. Jim Schult (1-2, 6.15) will get the start for Joliet. The ThunderBolts have not yet named a starter. The game begins at 10:35 a.m. and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.