Freedom Take Mega-Series against Normal
FLORENCE, Ky - Taking their home-field for the final time in the 2018 regular-season, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, delivered the goods in a thrilling, 3-1, victory over the Normal CornBelters on Thursday night at UC Stadium.
The CornBelters (47-45) number one offense in the Frontier League was quick to strike off Freedom (49-44) starter, Chuck Weaver (6-4) in the top of the first. James Davison Jr. led-off with a base knock to right before an error at short and a walk loaded the bases for Andrew Godbold. Wever induced a ground ball to third, but Taylor Bryant's only play was to first and Davison Jr. scampered home to plate the game's first run. Weaver was able to work out of the bases-loaded jam via a strikeout and a ground-out, holding the visitors to a, 1-0, edge. There would be nary another rally for Normal, who watched Weaver face the minimum over his final seven brilliant innings.
Normal starter Miles Moeller worked a fast first frame, but the Freedom manufactured a run to tie the game in the second. Jordan Brower and Taylor Bryant reached on back-to-back walks, and John Price Jr. smoked a ball through the legs of third baseman, Mike Baca, and into left field, scoring Brower to knot the score after one. Moeller was replaced to begin the fifth by Sean Johnson (0-1), whom the Freedom took their first lead of the night off of in the righty's first inning of work. Price Jr. started the frame by tripling to the alley in right center, later scoring on a 3-4 put-out off the bat of Caleb Lopes to push Florence ahead, 2-1, entering the sixth.
Moeller threw four innings and allowed only one run on three hits to go along with four walks and three strikeouts.
Jess Amedee took the hill for the Belters in the bottom of the seventh after Johnson surrendered a lead-off double to Taylor Bryant. Amedee issued a walk to Ryan Rinsky to begin his outing, and Price Jr. touched him for a single to load the bases. Lopes came through again, tallying his second RBI of the night with a hot shot through the left side of the infield. Rinsky was thrown out at home on the play, keeping the margin to two as the eighth inning approached.
Weaver continued his dominance through the eighth, finishing his last-start of the regular-season having spanned eight complete, allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
All-Star closer, Johnathon Tripp, entered for the ninth and promptly struck-out the side as the Freedom prevailed, 3-1, taking the series two games to one over Normal. Florence will take the field for the final three games of the regular-season in O'Fallon, Missouri, having won six of their last seven games as their thrilling chase to the post-season continues.
The Freedom will take on the top dog in the West Division, River City Rascals, in search of their second Division crown in as many seasons. Right-hander, Christian DeLeon will toe the slab in game one for the visiting Freedom, opposite southpaw, Jonny Ortiz of the Rascals with first pitch slated for 6:35 PM CT at CarShield Field.
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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