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Big 6th inning vaults Bolts to season-opening win

CRESTWOOD, IL - The ThunderBolts scored four runs in the sixth inning Thursday night on their way to a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the Joliet Slammers on Opening Night at Standard Bank Stadium.

The Slammers jumped on the board first when Zach Mandelblatt knocked in Abel Nieves on a two-out single. They extended their lead in the third, when Erik Lis picked up another big two-out hit, an RBI double, scoring Hector Pellot.

The Bolts, meanwhile, had trouble getting their baserunners in during the early innings. Through five innings, they had six hits and at least one man on base every inning but were unable to score.

They finally got to Gaby Hernandez in the sixth. Chris Wade reached on an error to begin the frame and Zach Aakhus doubled him home. After a Billy Nowlin single, Mike Mobbs reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Aakhus and tying the game. Hernandez walked the bases loaded and departed and the Slammers turned to Chuck Lukanen. The control issues continued, though, for the Slammers. Lukanen walked Bryan Burke, giving the ThunderBolts a 3-2 lead. Mike Torres’ infield single scored Matt Grosso to conclude the rally.

The 4-2 score held as the ThunderBolts got great relief work from Andy Mee, Shane Zegarac and Tyson Corley, who combined for 3.1 hitless innings.

Stephen Sauer got the start for Windy City and pitched effectively for 5.2 innings. He allowed eight hits, but only two runs. He walked one and struck out five.

Mee (1-0) collected the win, retiring the final batter of the sixth and the first of the seventh. Hernandez (0-1) took the loss, pitching 5.2 innings and allowing four unearned runs.

With the win, the ThunderBolts pick up a sweep in a rare one-game series. Friday, the Bolts hit the road for the first time this season, taking on the Normal CornBelters in Normal’s opener. Dustin Williams (11-6 in 2011) will take the hill for Windy City and will be opposed by Tyler Lavigne (7-9 in 2011). Gametime Friday night will be 6:30 and the radio broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and WXAV.com.

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