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ThunderBolts fall in pitchers' duel

CRESTWOOD, IL – Southern Illinois Miners rookie Kaleb Schmidt threw seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits as the Miners knocked off the ThunderBolts 4-0 in the rubber match of a three-game series at Ozinga Field Thursday night.

The game started out as a dynamic pitchers’ duel between two young hurlers. Schmidt, making his second professional start, retired the first 13 ThunderBolt hitters he faced. But he was matched nearly pitch for pitch by Windy City rookie Layne Schnitz-Paxton, who was making his pro debut out of the University of Toledo. Schnitz-Paxton allowed only one single and one walk over 4.2 innings.

The game was scoreless all the way into the eighth inning. That’s when Jared Mang hit a leadoff single for the Miners (5-8) and advanced to third base on two groundouts. He was the first man on either team to reach third. With two outs, Marshall Rich hit an RBI single to break the tie.

The ThunderBolts (6-6) threatened in the bottom of the inning on a Zach Racusin leadoff double, but he was stranded at third.

Southern Illinois broke the game open with a three-run top of the ninth. Thanks to a pair of hits and three walks, they extended the final lead to 4-0.

Schmidt (1-0) picked up his first professional win and Stetson Woods (0-1) took the loss in relief for the Bolts.

The ThunderBolts continue their season-long ten-game home stand on Friday as they kick off a three-game series with the Gateway Grizzlies. Jake Fisher (1-1, 11.70) makes the start on the mound for the ThunderBolts against Gateway’s Colton Easterwood, who will be making his professional debut. The game will be followed by the ThunderBolts’ world famous fireworks show. Fans who can’t make it to Ozinga Field can find the audio and video broadcasts through wcthunderbolts.com.

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