SAUGET, IL – Brandon Decker’s first inning grand slam propelled the ThunderBolts to a 10-6 victory over the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark Wednesday night. The win was the 25th in the career of Dustin Williams, a new franchise record.
Alex Kaminsky started for the Grizzlies and had some control problems early. He walked Mike Torres and Chad Cregar in the first with a Chris Wade single helping to load the bases. Kaminsky’s third walk of the inning, to Zach Aakhus, allowed Torres to score to give the ThunderBolts a 1-0 lead. Decker came up next and took a 2-0 pitch to deep right field for his 10th home run of the year.
It remained 5-0 until the bottom of the third when the Grizzlies got back-to-back two-out singles before Rogelio Noris homered to cut the Bolts lead to 5-3.
Windy City came right back with two runs in the top of the fourth. C.J. Gillman singled and Travis Weaver was hit by a pitch before Torres singled with two outs. Gillman scored on the hit and an errant throw from center allowed Weaver to score as well, making it 7-3.
Cregar singled in the seventh, extending his hit streak to 12 games and later crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Jareck West’s two-run homer later in the frame concluded the ThunderBolts scoring, making it 10-3.
The Grizzlies scored three more two-out runs in the bottom of the seventh, chasing Williams, who had been pitching well. Jonathan Johnson’s RBI double knocked him out of the game and Jerod Yakubik drove in two on a double to bring Gateway within four. They would not get any closer as Andy Mee and Shane Zegarac combined to shut them out over the final 2.1 innings.
With the win, Williams improved to a league-best 7-2 this year. His 25 career victories also include seven in 2010 and 11 in 2011. He moved past Ross Stout, whom he had tied last week, on the ThunderBolts win list.
Kaminsky (5-3) took the loss.
The ThunderBolts will wrap up the series and the road trip at GCS Ballpark Thursday night. Blayne Weller (2-0, 3.46) will get the start for the Bolts and the Grizzlies will counter with Pat Arnold (3-1, 4.66). The game begins at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the broadcast can be heard on sportsjuice.com.