CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts took an early lead Wednesday night, lost it late, but saw Zach Aakhus save the day with a two-out walk-off hit in the bottom of the tenth. The Bolts defeated the Joliet Slammers 4-3 at Standard Bank Stadium.
Windy City got on the board in the third when Brandon Anderson singled, stole second and scored on a Mike Torres base hit. They added two more in the fourth. Chad Cregar and Billy Nowlin hit back-to-back singles before Chris Wade doubled home one run and Lee Rubin brought in another on a sacrifice fly.
The 3-0 score held until the bottom of the sixth. Matt Jernstad, who cruised along through five began to struggle in the 100 degree heat and allowed his first run on a walk and two singles. David Fox’s RBI hit made it 3-1.
The Joliet bullpen pitched well and did not allow another ThunderBolts run, saving the 3-1 score heading into the ninth, as the Bolts called on closer Wes Alsup.
Kyle Maunus led off the top of the ninth with a single and Sean Estand walked. Kris Kasarjian’s groundout advanced both runners into scoring position before Ben Hewett struck out for the second out of the inning. Pinch hitter Trey Manz worked the count full before lining an Alsup pitch up the middle scoring two runs and tying the game.
After Windy City went down in order in the bottom of the ninth and Joliet did the same in the top of the tenth, the ThunderBolt offense got in gear. Chase Porch’s one-out single in the tenth was the first base runner for the team since the sixth. After Anderson was hit by a pitch, Torres hit a comebacker to the pitcher’s mound, but the Slammers could get just one out on the play, keeping the game alive for Aakhus. On a 3-2 pitch, he hit a foul ball to right that Josh Flores chased down but couldn’t hang onto. He sent the next pitch over the head of the centerfielder, Fox, scoring Porch and winning the game 4-3.
It was the second walk-off win of the season for the ThunderBolts. John Mincone pitched the tenth to earn the win (1-2) and Brian Smith took the loss (0-1).
The Traverse City Beach Bums come into town for a three-game series starting Thursday. Dustin Williams (7-3) looks to be the Frontier League’s first eight-game winner against Matt Smith (0-3). It will be Bud Light Thirsty Thursday at Standard Bank Stadium, meaning domestic draft beer is just $1.00. The game can be heard on SportsJuice.com.
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