NORMAL, IL – The ThunderBolts came from four runs behind to tie the Normal CornBelters but fell in the ninth inning on a Justin Fletcher walk-off single 7-6 at The Corn Crib Friday night.
Normal (28-30) got the scoring started in the second inning as Ty Morris’s two-out single, the third hit of the inning, scored Miguel Torres to make it 1-0.
The ThunderBolts (32-25) answered with two solo home runs to take the lead. Kyle Wood tied it and Ransom LaLonde’s shot three batters later made it 2-1.
Clay Chapman struggled with his control in the fourth inning as the CornBelters loaded the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch. A Diego Cedeno sacrifice fly tied the score before the bases were again loaded on another walk. Aaron Dudley’s sacrifice fly put the CornBelters back in front. They took a four run lead on a three-run homer from Nolan Meadows.
The ThunderBolts answered immediately. Coco Johnson walked, stole second and scored on a Larry Balkwill single. After Wood walked, Tim Zier hit a three-run homer to tie the score.
Both bullpens were strong as neither team scored again until the ninth. The Bolts had two strong chances, getting a runner to third base in the seventh with one out and loading the bases with no outs in the ninth. Both times, the CornBelters pitched out of it.
In the bottom of the ninth, Santiago Chirino walked and Dudley singled him to third. With the infield drawn in, Fletcher chopped the ball over third baseman Riley Krane’s head to bring in the winning run.
Francisco Carillo (1-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and Scott Kuzminsky (3-2) allowed the run in the ninth for the loss. Both starters were removed after allowing six runs.
The ThunderBolts continue their series in Normal on Saturday. Zac Westcott (5-4, 6.24) will make the game two start against the CornBelters’ Charlie Gillies (4-5, 4.43). First pitch from the Corn Crib is scheduled for 6:35 and the broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.
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