Big Florence Inning Sinks Grizzlies
FLORENCE, Ky. - The Gateway Grizzlies allowed all four Florence Freedom runs in the second inning Monday en route to a 4-3 loss at UC Health Stadium.
In their other seven innings of offense, the Freedom (26-12) mustered only one hit and no runs. But they scored four runs on five hits, four of which went for extra bases, in the second inning and made their lead stand up.
Gateway (15-24) stranded runners on the corners to end the game, which marked the Grizzlies' fourth straight loss and their ninth defeat in their last 10 games.
Florence won its sixth straight and owns the Frontier League's best record by a 3 1/2-game margin.
Ian Kahaloa (0-2) took the loss in his first start of the season. He allowed four runs on five hits over four innings while striking out three.
Luke Lowery and Shawon Dunston Jr. provided the Grizzlies' offensive highlight with back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the fifth inning. Lowery's blast was his fifth of the year and matched Connor Owings for the team lead. Dunston Jr.'s was his third.
Lowery and Dunston Jr.'s feat was the Grizzlies' second set of back-to-back home runs in 2019; Jamey Smart and Brent Sakurai did it May 22 against Evansville at home in Sauget.
Jason Seever and Geoff Bramblett combined to throw four scoreless innings out of the Grizzlies' bullpen. They allowed one base-runner each.
Gateway took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a Tyler Plantier RBI single. Plantier has hit in each of his first four games as a professional and now boasts a 7-for-16 career mark as a pro with a home run and six RBIs. Zak Taylor extended his career-opening hitting streak to six games, the longest active Grizzlies hitting streak.
Brent Sakurai went 2-for-4, his second straight multi-hit game and team-leading 14th of the season in 39 games. He has started all 39 at shortstop.
Gateway led at some point in all four games of the series, but the Grizzlies were swept in Florence.
Gateway will be off Tuesday before a doubleheader Wednesday on the road against the River City Rascals at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Mo. First pitch of the doubleheader Wednesday is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. CDT.
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