CRESTWOOD, IL - Despite a strong performance from T.J. Santiago, the ThunderBolts could not overcome two two-run home runs as they fell to the Evansville Otters in game one of a three game set at Standard Bank Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
Santiago pitched out of jams in the first, second and fifth innings after the right-hander stranded runners in scoring position in each frame. It took Evansville (32-22) until the sixth to break through against the rookie, as John Schultz doubled to lead off the frame and Alejandro Segovia followed with a two-run home run.
Chris Chigas entered the contest in the seventh and followed the same pattern as the previous inning. The lefty allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Long and Josh Allen ripped another long ball out to deep leftfield to extend the Otters lead to 4-0.
Offensively, ThunderBolts (30-24) hitters could not come up with a solution against Evansville’s Hunter Ackerman. Windy City managed just four hits, two coming by Riley Krane, and were shut out for the seventh time this season.
The Bolts best opportunity to score came in the seventh inning. The aforementioned Krane doubled with two outs and back-to-back walks to Tim Zier and Corey Bass set the scene for Ransom LaLonde.
LaLonde ripped a ground ball headed towards the middle, but Otters shortstop Chris Riopedre made a sliding stop to end the threat.
Santiago (1-2) got the tough luck loss after allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking two over six innings. Ackerman (6-2) went seven strong innings and gave up three scattered hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
The ThunderBolts look to right the ship in game two of the series on Wednesday. Drake Robison (0-2, 8.22) will get the start against Luc Rennie (3-1, 3.00). Wednesday will be the second of three consecutive Big Splash Days presented by Pirates Cay Indoor Water Park. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. and the broadcast can be heard through wcthunderbolts.com.
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