Freedom Split Double Dip with Wild Things
FLORENCE, Ky - In a true day-night doubleheader, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechancial Solutions, let the leader slip, 7-1, before rallying to a walk-off, 7-6, victory in the night-cap on Saturday night at UC Health Stadium.
Kenny Meimerstorf continued his fast start in a Freedom (44-29) uniform, helping the home team hand righty, Zak Spivy (0-5) a, 1-0, lead with an RBI-single in the bottom off the fifth inning. Wild Things (30-42) lefty, Nick Wegmann (5-5) would collect the first two outs in the sixth, ending his afternoon having allowed one run on seven hits with four walks and five punch-outs over 5.2 innings.
The lead would be short-lived, Washington (30-42) scoring seven unanswered runs on three homers over their last four at-bats. Spivy would surrender the first long-ball, a two-run shot to Shane Hughes in the sixth that vaulted the visitors ahead, 2-1. Those would be the last runs Spivy allowed, the hurler eventually swallowing a tough-luck loss despite earning his first professional quality-start. The Rookie-1 spanned seven strong innings, surrendering two runs on five hits with two walks and a pair of whiffs in defeat.
Hector Roa offered some insurance to Washington in the eighth, clubbing his second homer of the series and fourteenth of the year, a three-run shot off Chris Ewin in the eighth to push the Wild Things in front by four. Cameron Baranek would also go yard for the second time in as many days, knocking a two-run blast off Cameron Vige in the ninth as the score became, 7-1, the eventual final.
Game two was a back and forth affair that saw Washington light up the scoreboard first, touching southpaw, Mike Castellani for a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. Roa again supplied the pop, shooting a two-run double past third that made an earlier error by second baseman, Luis Pintor come back to haunt, the vistors taking a, 2-0, advantage.
Florence had an answer the next half inning however, scratching four runs across to claim a two-run lead at, 4-2. Back-to-back one out doubles by Caleb Lopes and Trevor Craport accounted for the first run, before Meimerstorf evened the score with an RBI-single. Former Wild Thing, Austin Wobrock, stung his former suitor with the go-ahead base-knock in the frame, a two-run double that plated Meimerstorff and Taylor Bryant after a walk as Florence took control by a pair.
Washington would score the next three runs in the fourth and fifth innings, taking their second lead of the night in the middle stages. Again using the long-ball, J.J Fernandez poked his sixth homer of the year into the Freedom bullpen in right to make it a one-run game at, 4-3, after four. In the fifth, Roa stalemated the affair with an infield single, a dribbler to third scoring J.R. Davis and moving Blake Adams to third. One pitch later, Roa was picked off first by Castellani, but stayed in the run-down long enough for Adams to cross home-plate, again springing the Wild Things in front, 5-4.
Bryant would again even the score for Florence in the sixth, teeing off on his fifth homer of the year to right field, the solo-shot bringing the score to, 5-5.
Castellani would go on to span seven innings, allowing 5 runs, three earned, on nine hits with one walk and five whiffs in a quality-start no-decision.
With Sean Hughes (2-0) on the hill for the Freedom in the top of the eighth, Alex Murphy added one more to the Wild Things tally with a flare to right that plated Roa and made the score, 6-5. Roa finished the game 3-4 at the plate, adding three runs batted in to his stat line.
The Freedom found a way to deadlock the score in the eighth, getting a Ricky Ramirez Jr. single and Meimerstoff hit-by-pitch to ignite a late push. Bryant would successfully bunt each runner ahead ninety feet, putting a pair of runners in scoring position in the one-run affair.
Lefty, B.J. Sabol (1-2) would take over on the hill, getting a quick out to bring Florence down to their final out in the frame. With two strikes on the next batter the southpaw faced, Ryan Rinsky, Sabol balked, helping the home team force yet another tie at, 6-6.
Connor Crane delivered the goods to lead off the ninth for the Freedom, scorching a double to right off Sabol that was over-run by Roa, allowing Crane to motor towards third. When the right-fielder did collect the ball up against the wall, he threw wildly towards the relay man Davis, prodding Crane to head for home. The runner would dive in safe, Florence rushing the field victorious in a come from behind, walk-off, 7-6, victory.
Florence will now look to take three of four from the Wild Things in the finale of a weekend series on Sunday evening. Right-hander, Johnathon Tripp (3-3, 1.23) will take the ball for the Freedom, opposite left-hander, John Havird (5-4, 3.50) of Washington with first pitch slated for 5:35 p.m. at UC Health Stadium.
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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