Freedom Shutout Again As Windy City Wins Rubber Match
FLORENCE, Ky - In a series that was dominated by pitching from start to finish, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, struggled to find an answer on offense, dropping the finale and the series to the Windy City Thunderbolts, 5-0, on Thursday at Standard Bank Stadium.
Windy City (4-1) wasted no time starting the scoring, producing four runs off Freedom (4-2) right-hander, Cody Gray (1-1) in the bottom of the first inning. Will Krug led off with a single and Tim Zier was hit by a pitch before Riley Krane plated one with a ground ball that caromed off Gray's calf and rolled into shallow right field. With runners on second and third, Larry Balkwill bounced a chopper to Jose Brizuela at third base, setting up a play at the plate. Brizuela's throw was wild, allowing Zier to score as the Bolts moved in front, 2-0. Two more runs would score on an ensuing triple off the bat of David Oppenheim, giving Windy City a, 4-0, lead after one.
Thunderbolts southpaw, Patrick Ledet (2-0) had the formula, keeping Florence off balance to the tune of seven shutout innings, and added six strikeouts on his way to a second win in as many starts.
Despite the rough first frame, Gray would settle in, scattering just three hits and one run over the next five innings while fanning six and issuing zero walks. Windy City's fifth and final run of the afternoon came in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Straub skied a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Larry Balkwill who singled and advanced to third on an Oppenheim double. Now ahead, 5-0, the Bolts never looked back.
The Freedom did match Windy City with seven hits apiece in the contest, highlighted by Brizuela's 2-4 performance that saw his batting average climb to .318 on the season.
Florence will look to regroup as they return to UC Health Stadium for an early season showdown with the unbeaten Gateway Grizzlies on Friday. Freedom righty, Steve Hagen will take the ball opposite a TBD pitcher for the Grizzlies with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.
The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.
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