EVANSVILLE, IN – The ThunderBolts scored four runs with two outs in the ninth inning to shock the Evansville Otters 6-5 at Bosse Field Friday night.
It was a pitchers' duel early as Windy City starter Blayne Weller and Evansville starter Matt Zielinski matched each other with zeroes on the scoreboard for the first five innings.
Weller, who struck out 12 in 5.1 innings, worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second and struck out three straight hitters after a leadoff triple in the third to preserve the shutout into the sixth, but with his pitch count over 100, he exited in favor of Rich Hawkins.
Hawkins was not hit hard in the inning, but with the bases loaded and two outs, the Otters broke out for three runs on two infield singles and a hit batter.
The Bolts answered in the seventh inning. A walk and a single chased Zielinski from the game after 6.1 innings and nine strikeouts and Ryan Soares knocked home two runs off Coty Saranthus on a single to draw the ThunderBolts to within one.
Evansville extended their lead in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run off the bat of Steve Marino and a two-out RBI single for Devaun Williams that scored Ryan Kresky, who had been hit by a pitch.
The score remained 5-2 into the ninth when the Otters brought on closer Eric Massingham. Louie Templeton led off the frame with a double and a Jeff Harkensee single put runners on the corners. Back-to-back groundouts put the ThunderBolts in trouble before Massingham walked Mike Torres to load the bases. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Doug Joyce took two balls and drilled the 2-2 pitch off the right field wall to clear the bases and tie the game on a double. He advanced to third on a wild pitch scored on Chad Cregar’s single.
Michael Click struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save. Overall, ThunderBolt pitchers struck out 18 Otters.
Tyler Claburn (1-0) worked 1.2 scoreless innings for his first professional win and Massingham (0-1) was credited with the loss.
The ThunderBolts series with the Otters continues on Saturday night with a 6:35 first pitch at Bosse Field. Travis Strong (0-0, 5.40) will start for the ThunderBolts against Evansville’s Ryan Zamorsky (0-0, 0.00). The broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and wxav.com.
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