Frontier League

Pitching dominates in ThunderBolts’ third straight win

SAUGET, IL – Tyler Thornton and Miguel Ausua combined to hold the Gateway Grizzlies to two hits as the ThunderBolts opened a five-game road trip with a 2-1 win at GCS Credit Union Ballpark Wednesday night.

Gateway (2-4) struck first with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Jose Rosario was hit by a pitch, advanced on an error and scored on a Justin Jones sacrifice fly. It was the first run allowed this year by reigning Frontier League Pitcher of the Week Tyler Thornton, but it was unearned.

In the first four Windy City games this season, the team that scored first went on to win, but Wednesday saw the first lead change of the year when the Bolts (4-2) struck for a pair of fifth-inning runs.

With two outs and nobody on, Brynn Martinez and Zac Taylor kept the inning alive with back-to-back singles. Dan Robinson followed with a two-run double that put the Bolts ahead for good.

From there, it was handled by the pitchers. Aside from two Chase Vallot doubles, Thornton did not allow a hit over six innings. Miguel Ausua came on next and faced the minimum over the final three.

The Grizzlies threatened in the seventh when Jones appeared to hit a one-out double to put the tying run in scoring position. On appeal, though, Jones was ruled out at first base after he had failed to touch the bag.

Ausua was not challenged the rest of the way as he got the final nine outs for his first professional save. Thornton (2-0) picked up his second straight win. Sebastian Kessay (0-1) took the loss despite pitching well. He allowed two runs over 5.2 innings.

The ThunderBolts will aim for the two-game sweep on Thursday night. Kenny Mathews (0-1, 0.00) gets the Windy City start against Gateway’s Jorge Tavarez (0-0, 4.50). First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 from Sauget.

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