The River City Rascals (13-12) tallied double digit hits for the sixth consecutive game and took the series opener from the Windy City ThunderBolts (16-9), 7-2, Friday night at CarShield Field.
The win marked the Rascals fourth out of their past five games and are off to a 3-1 start during this six game homestand.
The opponent entered the game tied for the second best record in the Frontier League and they started the game strong with three hits to load the bases with one out in the opening frame.
Rascals southpaw Austin Warner then walked Larry Balkwill to put his team down 1-0. However, that would be the only run of the night for Warner and he went on to allow just one hit the rest of his seven inning affair.
The second year Rascal also tallied eight strikeouts, which ties the Rascals season high which was set by Warner on May 27th against Joliet.
“After being wild the first couple innings, Josh Ludy pointed out that my lower half was drifting and it was causing me to miss up in the zone,” Warner said. “Once I got myself under control I was able to command the ball low in the zone and get early swings.”
On the opposite side of things, the ThunderBolts started a lefty of their own, Jake Fisher who is in his fifth year of professional baseball.
After retiring the side in the first two innings, Fisher wasn’t the same the rest of his outing and allowed four combined runs over his final three frames.
In the third, Brandon Thomas led off with a single and got over to third on a throwing error from Fisher, who tried to pick him off at the first base bag.
Thomas then scampered home on a sacrifice fly from Clint Freeman to tie the game at one.
One inning later, Braxton Martinez gave his team the lead with a RBI double and Jimmy Kerrigan provided a two-run blast in the fifth to extend the Rascals lead to 4-1.
“We knew we had Warner on the bump tonight and we always know he is going to give us a great performance every time out,” Martinez said. “Offensively, the goal was just to get some early runs so he can be comfortable and then add insurance runs throughout the game which is exactly what we did.”
That was the final frame for Fisher who took his first loss of the year allowing four runs on five hits and struck out three.
The first reliever of the night for the ThunderBolts was Cody Mincey and he faced four batters and was able to record just one out in the sixth inning.
With two on and one out, Brandon Thomas notched a two RBI single up the middle and it caused ThunderBolts manager Ron Biga bring in a lefty to face Clint Freeman.
“It was great to get those two runs across and give us some separation from the opponent,” Thomas said.
Freeman answered with a single of his own to put Thomas in scoring position and the final run of the night came one batter later via a RBI single from Johnny Morales, his 16th RBI of the year.
Out of the Rascals ten hits, Morales and Thomas each had two and then Josh Silver extended his hitting streak to a team high eleven games.
As for the Rascals bullpen, Matt Chavarria tossed a scoreless eighth and then Joe Iorio struck out two guys in the ninth but did allow the ThunderBolts second run, a solo shot from Kyle Wood.