Freedom Fall in Extra Inning Duel
FLORENCE, Ky - Karl Craigie allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the eleventh, and the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, dropped the finale of a two-game series, 3-2, with the Washington Wild Things on Thursday night at UC Health Stadium.
Standing at second base in the top of the eleventh courtesy the International Tie-Breaker Rule, Shaine Hughes scored the eventual game-winning run for the Wild Things (35-53) when Stephen Lohr shot a two-out single to left, giving Washington a, 3-2, lead over the Freedom (51-37).
Florence would see the both the tying and winning runs reach scoring position before Things closer Zach Strecker (2-5), who tossed three shut-out innings in relief, closed the door on a series split with a punch-out of Trevor Craport. Strecker landed the win, his second of the year, and handed the Freedom their fifteenth one-run loss in regular-season play.
Allowing the unearned run in the eleventh, Florence closer, Karl Craigie (5-3) swallows the loss, but saw his ERA drop to 0.50 following his two innings of relief in the contest.
The Freedom started the scoring in the bottom of the second, two-free passes by Wild Things starter, John Havird, coming back to haunt when Austin Wobrock delivered an RBI-single to center that scored Isaac Benard from second. Leading, 1-0, after two, Florence began a string of five consecutive shut-out innings, offensively.
The visitors delivered a timely response facing right-hander, Zak Spivy in the their side of the third, Drew Bene sending a sacrifice-fly to right as Washington evened the score at 1. Spivy allowed one more run in the fifth, J.R. Davis touching the hurler for a two-out RBI-single, propelling the Things to their first lead of the night at, 2-1.
Havird would step aside after 5.1 one-run innings, handing the ball to righty, Jesus Balaguer with a pair of outs to find in the sixth. The lefty, starter took a no-decision in the extra inning triumph.
A snake-bit season continues for the Florence starter, Spivy, who would go on to take a no-decision of his own despite netting his fourth quality-start. The right-hander turned in a final line of 6.1 innings, two earned runs allowed on six hits, with one walk and two whiffs.
Rallying to stalemate the score at 2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Freedom sent seven men to the plate to face two different pitchers in the frame. Balaguer toed the rubber first, but was promptly pulled in favor of southpaw, B.J. Sabol when Connor Crane worked a lead-off walk. Craport bounced a one-out single over first two batters later, putting runners on the edges for Jackson Pritchard. Pritchard proceeded to lay down a safety squeeze, Sabol attempting for the out at home to no avail as the score deadlocked again. Three runners would be stranded on base for the Freedom, who left seventeen men on base in total in defeat.
Both teams will get back on the diamond on Friday, Florence traveling to Evansville for a trio of bouts with the West Division leading Otters at historic Bosse Field. Washington will return to the comfy confines of Wild Things Park, where they welcome the reeling Southern Illinois Miners for a weekend series in Pennsylvania. The Freedom and Otters will have a 6:35 p.m. CDT first pitch, while the Things and Miners collide at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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