Freedom Take Weekend Series from Grizzlies
FLORENCE, Ky - With next to no margin for error in a jam-packed West Division, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, clinched a series victory with a, 5-2, win on Saturday night at UC Health Stadium.
It took a few innings to solve Gateway (36-53) starter Taso Stathopoulos (2-6), but the Freedom (46-43) were able to score first for the 35th time in 2018 in the bottom of the fourth. Jordan Brower led the inning off with a walk, and stood on second with two outs after a Jimmy Heck sacrifice bunt. John Price Jr. came up and launched his fourth round-tripper in a Freedom uniform, putting Florence in front, 2-0.
The Grizzlies cut the deficit in half against Freedom starter Christian DeLeon (7-4) two innings later. Mitch Piatnik led off with a double and Shane Mardirosian singled him to third. Blake Brown grounded into a double play, but Piatnik raced home and it was a, 2-1, game.
Freedom manager Dennis Pelfrey called on Sam Martin to replace DeLeon for the start of the seventh, leaving DeLeon with his eighth quality start of the season. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits, with one walk and five whiffs.
Martin allowed three straight singles to start the inning, and in a high-leverage situation with the stakes raised and the bases loaded, Freedom closer, Johnathon Tripp emerged from the bullpen. Tripp did the miraculous, hurling three straight strikeouts to preserve the one-run edge.
Josh Glick replaced Stathopoulos to begin the seventh for Gateway. The starter was charged with two runs on five hits, with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings of work.
Patrick Boyle ascended the mound for Gateway to start the eighth, and Florence was able to add some insurance off the lefty. Boyle issued two walks to put two-on for Keivan Berges. The team-leader in home runs launched his seventeenth of the season to straightaway center, putting Florence up, 5-1, heading into the ninth.
Ryan Colegate entered for the final frame and after a quick strikeout, surrendered an infield single and a pair of walks to load the bases. A pinch-hitting Jeff Cardenas plated one, rolling a ground-out to second for the penultimate out of the game. Colegate would slam the door next, getting another bounce-out, this time to third off the bat of Mitch Piatnik as the Freedom sealed the series victory with a, 5-2, win. Florence will enter tomorrow's finale riding a three-game winning streak.
The Freedom will look for the sweep on Sunday behind righty Tyler Gibson. Hoping to salvage a game in the set, Gateway will counter with right-hander Alec Kisena. First pitch is scheduled for 2:35 PM 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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