MARION, IL – Richard Sullivan shut out the ThunderBolts over seven innings and allowed just two hits in leading the Southern Illinois Miners to a 1-0 victory over Windy City at Rent One Park Saturday night.
The Bolts had several opportunities to score off Sullivan early in the game. They put a runner at second base with one out in the first and in the second, they had men at second and third with one out, but were unable to score in both instances.
The scoreless tie was broken in the bottom of the fourth. Jason Ganek opened the inning by getting hit by a Blayne Weller pitch. With two outs, Cannon Lester singled, advancing Ganek to third. Andrew Brauer’s throw to third base from right field was off line and allowed Ganek to score.
That was the only time that the Miners had a runner reach third base all game. Blayne Weller allowed only four hits and struck out six Miners over six innings but Sullivan was just a little better.
After Jeff Harkensee reached on an error to begin the fifth, Sullivan and reliever Drew Bailey combined to retire the next 12 ThunderBolt hitters in succession.
The Bolts had one more chance in the ninth. Against closer Brandon Cunniff, Zach Aakhus walked to lead off the inning. He eventually made it to second on a steal, but made it no further as Cunniff struck out two in wrapping up his second straight save.
Sullivan (1-0) struck out eight in the win while Weller fell to 0-1 as the tough-luck loser.
The ThunderBolts’ three-game set with Southern Illinois will wrap up Sunday night with a 5:05 first pitch at Rent One Park. Travis Strong will make his ThunderBolts debut on the mound against Blake Nation of the Miners. The game broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.
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