The Gateway Grizzlies used a five-run fourth inning to pull ahead of the Florence Freedom on Saturday night at UC Health Stadium, cruising to a 7-2 victory in Florence, Ohio.
The Grizzlies (29-47) trailed 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning before mounting a big rally against Freedom starter Cody Gray (3-2).
Seth Heck walked to start the frame, which was followed by base hits from Craig Massoni and Ben Waldrip. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Blake Brown stepped to the dish and popped a grand slam to center field.
Brown’s 18th blast of the season gave the Grizzlies a 4-1 advantage.
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Just two batters later, Richard Seigel provided a highlight of his own when he laced a deep fly ball to left-center field. Florence outfielder Zac Mitchell came up empty with a diving attempt, which allowed the ball to trickle away on the warning track. Seigel raced all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park solo homer.
Dakota Smith (1-2) was solid through six innings on the mound for Gateway. The Kansas native allowed just one run in six innings before handing things over to JaVaun West, who pitched a scoreless seventh.
Grizzlies’ rookie Ryan Johns, who grew up in nearby Cincinnati, collected an RBI single to give Gateway a 6-1 edge. They tacked on one more to make it 7-1.
The Freedom (35-42) got one run off Tyler Thompson in the eighth inning, but Thompson dealt a scoreless ninth to end the game.
Massoni paced the Grizzlies’ offense with three hits while Cody Livesay picked up a pair.
The Grizzlies and Freedom play the rubber game of their three-game set at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday.