The River City Rascals (17-15) were shutout for the first time all year, 3-0, behind a stellar start from ThunderBolts (18-15) starter Brady Muller Saturday night in front of 3, 281 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Illinois.
The scoreless start was the second in a row for Muller and his last start with the ThunderBolts as his contract has now been purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He allowed five hits in a seven inning start and two of them were from Rascals leadoff man Jason Merjano, who led off the game with a single into left.
Looking to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, Jimmy Kerrigan roped a ball up the middle but was robbed of a hit with a diving play by shortstop Ransom LaLonde to retire Merjano at second base. It would go down as a fielder’s choice for Kerrigan and then the inning would end on a double play ball.
Josh Ludy led off with a single in the third but another double play ended the threat and Merjano tallied his second hit in the fourth but was caught stealing to end the inning.
The other two hits came via a single from Mike Jurgella and a double off the bat of Josh Silver to extend his hitting streak to a team high 18 games. Silver was also the first base runner in scoring position all night against Muller.
On the other side of the pitching duel was Rascals starter Tim Koons, who tossed his second straight quality start.
After a scoreless three frames to begin the night, Koons allowed a leadoff single off the bat of Coco Johnson. After a fly out, the opponent strung together three consecutive hits, including a two RBI double from Larry Balkwill to the center field wall and a RBI double down the left field line from Austin Darby to score the Bolts third and final run of the night.
Besides that frame, Koons held the opponent scoreless and he finished with seven strong innings, allowing the three runs on eight hits and struck out two.
Joe Iorio tossed a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout and he has struck out at least one batter in all six of his appearances this year.
Despite being shutout for the first time in the regular season since August 10, 2016, the Rascals are still two games over the .500 mark and sit in second place in the western division.
The rubber match of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. with Stephen Swagerty on the mound.