NORMAL, IL – Romulo Ruiz hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh, leading the Normal CornBelters to a 7-6 win over the Windy City ThunderBolts at The Corn Crib Tuesday night.
Normal scored two runs in the first inning and one in the third as both Mike Schwartz and Pat McKenna reached base to begin both innings. Steven Felix knocked in Schwartz twice and Ruiz singled home McKenna in the first.
The ThunderBolts tied the score in the fifth, scoring three runs off Normal starter Drew Provence. Lyndon Estill started the rally with a double. Adam Davis was hit by a pitch and Ryan Soares advanced both runners on a bunt before Mike Torres’s single drove home Estill to put the Bolts on the board. Zach Aakhus’s sacrifice fly produced the second run and Doug Joyce’s RBI single made the score 3-3.
The CornBelters retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth when McKenna tripled and Felix brought him home on a sacrifice fly.
Windy City had another three-run inning in the sixth, highlighted by a three base error on a Soares bunt that scored two runs. Torres followed with a sacrifice fly to give the ThunderBolts a 6-4 lead.
They held that advantage until the seventh when Schwartz and Felix each singled ahead of Ruiz, who’s second homer of the year put the CornBelters atop to stay.
The ThunderBolts had one more chance in the eighth. Davis walked and made it to third base with two outs for Torres, who was robbed of a hit by McKenna, preserving the 7-6 Normal lead and the victory.
The ThunderBolts and CornBelters will continue the series on Tuesday night. Game two will pit Windy City’s Mike Recchia (0-1) against the CornBelters’ Luis Noel (0-0). First pitch from The Corn Crib is scheduled for 7:00 and the game broadcast can be heard from wcthunderbolts.com.
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