The Gateway Grizzlies left the tying run on base twice in the final two innings of Friday night’s game against the Windy City ThunderBolts, falling 3-2 in the first game of a three-game set at Standard Bank Stadium.
Gateway’s offense fell silent after scratching across a run In the bottom of the fifth to make it 3-2, collecting only one hit from the sixth inning until the end of the game. The Grizzlies left two runners stranded in the eighth and again left the tying run on base in the ninth.
Windy City (10-13) got off to a fast start against Grizzlies’ starting pitcher JaVaun West (2-3). After Coco Johnson led off with a double, ThunderBolts right fielder Jonathan Garcia drove him in with a double of his own. Austin Ghallager then hit a run-scoring single to give Windy City a 2-0 lead.
The Grizzlies (7-18) got one run back in the third inning against left-handed pitcher Zak Wasserman (1-1), who picked up the win for Windy City. Garrett Vail walked with two outs and came around to score on Ryan Soares’ RBI single. Soares, who spent two season with the ThunderBolts prior to signing with Gateway, collected his second RBI of the night on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
RHP Cameron Giannini was terrific out of the bullpen for Windy City after Wasserman exited the game. Giannini held the Grizzlies scoreless through three innings while surrendering only a pair of hits. James Jones pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
Grant Buckner paced the Gateway offense with two hits in the game. RHP Jordan Wellander and RHP Scott Harkin kept the Grizzlies trailing by a lone run with scoreless innings of work in relief of West.
The Grizzlies and ThunderBolts play the second game of their three-game series Saturday evening at Standard Bank Stadium. Gateway sends right-handed pitcher Tyler Thompson to the mound against Windy City southpaw Danny Jiminez. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt will call the action.