07/13/2021 9:46 PM
CRESTWOOD, IL – Nolan Earley hit a two-run home run in the first inning for the Southern Illinois Miners and the ThunderBolts never recovered as they fell 5-3 on the first night of a three-game series.
Earley’s blast followed a Yeltsin Gudino single and gave the Miners (24-19) a lead that remained 2-0 all the way into the bottom of the fifth.
Former ThunderBolt Zac Westcott allowed only one hit through the first four innings but the game got interesting in the fifth. Rob Weissheier hit a solo homer, his second home run and fifth extra base hit in just six games with the team. That was followed by back-to-back singles but Westcott pitched out of further trouble when Southern Illinois leftfielder Anthony Brocato threw out John Sechen, who was trying to score on a Zach Racusin single.
The Miners doubled their runs total in the sixth inning thanks to a two-out two-run single for Carson Bartels that made the score 4-1.
The next inning, Weissheier hit a leadoff double for the ThunderBolts (15-26). He scored on a Jack Strunc base hit. Strunc later came around on a Zac Taylor double that tightened the score to 4-3. With the tying run at third and one out, Joey Pulido pitched out of the jam and kept the Miners in front.
They added an insurance run in the top of the eighth and the ThunderBolts didn’t threaten again.
Westcott (5-1) beat his former team for the second time this year, allowing one run in his five innings. Tyler Thornton (4-5) took the loss. He went seven innings and gave up four runs.
The series continues with game two on Wednesday night. Kenny Mathews (2-5, 4.17) gets the start for the Bolts against Southern Illinois’ Kaleb Schmidt (4-0, 2.41). First pitch at Ozinga Field is scheduled for 7:05 on Military Appreciation and Senior Night. Links to the audio and video broadcasts can be found at wcthunderbolts.com.
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