SAUGET, IL – The ThunderBolts scored three runs in the first inning but the Gateway Grizzlies responded with four homers to come back and beat the Bolts 8-4 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark Friday night.
The first four batters reached for the ThunderBolts (31-45) as Michael Mateja, Brynn Martinez and Tanner Gardner all doubled to go ahead 2-0. Chase Cockrell singled to put runners at the corners and Micah Coffey’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
The Grizzlies (32-43) tied the score in the second inning as Shawon Dunston, Jr. walked and Gunnar Buhner homered. Connor Owings came up later in the inning with an RBI single that made it 3-3.
Dustin Woodcock gave the Grizzlies a lead that they held the rest of the night when he homered to lead off the third inning. Gateway added to their lead with two more long balls. Owings hit a two-run shot in the fourth and Dunston did the same in the fifth inning.
After their dynamic first inning, the ThunderBolts’ bats were silenced by Chris Carden, who did not allow another run over the next six innings.
The Bolts broke through again off the Gateway bullpen in the eighth when Micah Coffey cleared the scoreboard for his first home run of the year. That was all the offense they could muster off of the Grizzlies’ relief corps, though, as the final six batters were retired.
Carden (7-2) picked up the win and Cole Bellair (2-5) allowed eight runs over five innings and took the loss.
Game two of the series will feature Chris Washington (2-8, 3.38) on the mound for the Bolts against Gateway’s Jordan Barrett (3-5, 4.33). First pitch from GCS Credit Union Ballpark is scheduled for 7:05 on Saturday night and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 FM and wxav.com.
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