The Gateway Grizzlies scored six runs in the first inning and cruised to an 8-5 victory against the Windy City ThunderBolts on Sunday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Grizzlies and averted a series sweep. It also kept the Grizzlies a game behind the Southern Illinois Miners for the final wild-card spot. The Grizzlies start a series with the Miners on Tuesday night at GCS Ballpark.
Gateway (47-40) tallied seven hits and drew two walks en route to scoring six first-inning runs. Landon Hernandez drove in two runs with a single, Michael Pair picked up a sacrifice fly, Alex Guthrie had an RBI double and Jet Butler chased in two runs with a single.
Windy City (43-44) outfielder Andrew Brauer drove in a run with a single in the second inning to make the score 6-1.
Gateway added a run on a Jon Myers solo home run in the fifth inning -- his 20th of the season --extending their lead to 7-1.
Windy City answered four runs --scoring twice in the sixth and a pair in the seventh -- to pull within 7-5, before Jose Flores drilled an eighth-inning solo homer for the Grizzlies.
Jake Stephens (5-2) started and picked up the win for the Grizzlies. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed seven hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one batter and struck out four, while throwing 89 pitches.
Right-hander Justin Erasmus pitched a one-two-three ninth inning for his first save with the Grizzlies and 18th overall.