Cody Livesay’s walk-off single in the ninth inning lifted the Gateway Grizzlies to a 5-4 win over the Joliet Slammers on Wednesday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.
Livesay’s single came with two outs and scored Grant Buckner after he walked to begin the inning. The hit also came moments after the Grizzlies (28-45) blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning.
Gateway closer Tyler Thompson retired the first two batters in the ninth and then ran into trouble. He walked Casey Fletcher and then issued a game-tying home run to Hunter Ridge to make it 4-4.
The Gateway offense picked up Thompson after his blown save and also produced four runs of support for rookie Dillon Haviland. Haviland pitched seven strong innings of two-run ball in his fourth professional start.
Blake Brown helped Haviland with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score Seth Heck. Heck and Craig Massoni started the rally with back-to-back singles. Ben Waldrip then walked to load the bases before Brown delivered the fly ball to put Gateway ahead 1-0.
The game remained that way until the fifth inning. Ryan Johns led off the inning with a single and after Adam Giacalone retired the next two batters, he couldn’t get past Craig Massoni. Massoni belted a home run over the left field fence to add to the Grizzlies lead and make it 3-0.
Joliet wasted no time getting one of the runs back in the sixth. One of Haviland’s few mistakes came to Mike Garza with two outs in the inning. Garza crushed his fifth home run of the season to leftfield to shrink the Gateway lead to 3-1.
A back-and-forth battle of home runs then ensued. Richard Seigel launched a solo home run with two outs in the sixth inning to give the Grizzlies the run right back. That pushed the lead back to three but it was short lived. Marc Flores homered off Haviland to lead off the seventh inning to cut the Joliet deficit to 4-2.
Tyler Thompson (4-5) picked up the win despite giving up the late lead. David Kubiak (5-4) took the loss after allowing the game-winning hit to Livesay in the ninth inning.
The Grizzlies and Slammers finish their three-game series Thursday night at GCS Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:05.