Special to the News-Democrat The Windy City ThunderBolts jumped out to an early five run lead and never looked back in a 5-2 victory over the Gateway Grizzlies on Wednesday afternoon at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Grizzlies (35-22) starting pitcher Ethan McKinzie (0-1) allowed five runs (four earned) in four innings of work. The right-hander gave up only four hits, but walked five batters for the second straight start. McKinzie failed to record a strikeout and the Grizzlies were unable to complete a series sweep.
Windy City (24-34) scored three times on two hits in the first inning and also benefited from two Grizzlies errors.
"We got ourselves in a hole early and you just can't do that when you're on the road," Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said.
The ThunderBolts picked up single runs in the third and fourth innings and took a 5-0 lead into the seventh.
A Vladimir Frias second-inning single was Gateway's only hit until the seventh inning, when Alex Guthrie picked up an RBI double to break up the shutout. Guthrie drove in Jose Flores who led off the inning with a walk.
Jon Myers drew a two-out walk in the eighth inning and Jet Butler brought him in on a run-scoring double to right field, but the Grizzlies couldn't come any closer.
Gateway finished the game with only five hits. Guthrie paced the attacked with a 2-for-4 day.
Three Grizzlies relievers combined to shutout Windy City over the final four innings. Right-hander Aaron Baker worked a one-two-three seventh inning in his professional debut.
"Aaron was impressive in his debut and that was good to see," Warren mentioned. "All of our relievers pitched well and they kept us in the game after we got down big early."
The Grizzlies continue their six-game road trip Thursday night at Schaumburg. Right-hander Tucker Jensen (4-4) gets the start for the Grizzlies. First pitch is set for 6:30.