Grizzlies drop series opener at Normal

The Grizzlies fell to the Normal CornBelters 9-2 on Tuesday in Normal, dropping their fourth straight game to begin the season.

Normal (3-1) got off to a fast start after scoring two runs in the second inning. Dylan Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to put Normal on the board, while CornBelters’ outfielder Cameron Monger hit a solo home run to left field to make it 2-0.

Grizzlies RHP Dejai Oliver (0-1) was touched up for seven earned runs in four-plus innings of work for the Grizzlies (0-4). Normal tacked on another run in the third and scored five more in the fifth inning to pull ahead 8-0.

Gateway’s offense came alive in the sixth inning when Blake Brown smacked his first home run in a Gateway uniform to make it 8-1. Rolando Gomez followed it up with a solo shot of his own to deep right-center field in the seventh.

Right-handed pitcher Robbie Buller was a bright spot for the Grizzlies. He threw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen while striking out three hitters.

Normal left-handerKevin Brahney (1-0) pitched five scoreless frames to pick up the victory, allowing only four hits and striking out five batters. Johnny Fageaux allowed the pair of home runs while Kevin Jefferis sealed the win after throwing two scoreless innings.

The Grizzlies continue their 3-game series at Normal on Tuesday with a 10:05 a.m. first pitch at The Corn Crib. Grizzlies right-hander Max Schonfeld makes his first professional start against CornBelters’ Chris Carmain.