Big first inning helps ThunderBolts win series

Bolts 5 Freedom 0

CRESTWOOD, IL – Patrick Ledet continued the run of success for Windy City ThunderBolts starters Thursday afternoon with seven shutout innings as the ThunderBolts defeated the Florence Freedom 5-0 before 2,716 fans at Standard Bank Stadium.

The Windy City offense put the game away early, scoring four runs in the first inning. The first five men to come up reached base as Will Krug led off with a single. Tim Zier was hit by a pitch and Riley Krane singled home Krug. Larry Balkwill hit a grounder to third and when the throw came home, it sailed over the head of Florence catcher Ryan Rinsky, allowing Zier to score. David Oppenheim followed with a triple that gave the Bolts (4-1) a four-run lead.

Florence’s starter Cody Gray settled in and allowed just one hit over the next four innings. The Bolts added one more, though, in the sixth as Balkwill singled, Oppenheim doubled him to third and Tyler Straub hit a sacrifice fly to right.

Ledet retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before facing trouble in the fourth. With two outs, the Freedom (4-2) put runners at first and third. Ledet’s first pitch to Cutter McDowell skipped away from Balkwill and Jose Brizuela tried to score from third. With Ledet covering the plate, Balkwill threw him out to preserve the shutout.

The ThunderBolts’ starter ended up with six strikeouts while giving up just three hits in seven innings to pick up the win and improve to 2-0. Gray (1-1) took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) in six innings.

After five games, Windy City starters have pitched at least seven innings and allowed one run or fewer in each game.

The ThunderBolts head out on the road for the first time this season with a three-game series opening in Joliet on Friday. Jaramy Jacobs will make his professional debut on the mound for the Bolts. First pitch from Joliet Route 66 Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 and the broadcast can be heard through wcthunderbolts.com.

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