CRESTWOOD, IL – Joliet scored three runs over the first two innings and held on to beat the ThunderBolts 4-1 to open the Bolts’ season-ending eight game home stand at Ozinga Field Friday night.
Clayton Harp was the star of the game for the Slammers (39-49) as he opened play with a triple off the right centerfield wall. He scored on a wild pitch.
The ThunderBolts (37-52) were quick to respond in the bottom of the first inning. Brynn Martinez singled, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a Tanner Gardner double.
Hayden Shenefield retired the first two batters in the second inning but Oliver Nunez kept the inning alive with a 12-pitch plate appearance that ended in a walk. Chaz Meadows followed with a walk and Harp’s RBI single made it 2-1. The Slammers got another run on a double steal.
Harp struck again with a solo homer in the fifth inning to give the Slammers a 4-1 lead.
Shenefield settled in and lasted eight innings, allowing only two hits after the second, but the Windy City offense struggled to capitalize on their scoring chances.
They had at least one base runner in every inning, but ended up stranding ten. Their last chance came in the ninth inning when Tyler Straub and Taisei Fukuhara singled and Michael Mateja was hit by a pitch to load the bases. They were unable to break through as Ryan Koziol escaped the jam for his league-leading 23rd save.
Kit Fowler (1-1) tossed seven innings for the win while Shenefield (1-3) set career highs with nine strikeouts and eight innings pitched but took the loss.
Game two of the series is set for 6:05 on Saturday. The game will be preceded by a 50th anniversary of Woodstock concert by The Mustangs and followed by a fireworks show. Kenny Mathews (3-9, 4.50) will start for the Bolts against Joliet’s Daren Osby (3-5, 3.07). Fans not at Ozinga Field can hear the action at wcthunderbolts.com.
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