Richards pitches Grizzlies to win over CornBelters

Gateway Grizzlies’ right-hander Trevor Richards allowed just one run through seven innings as the Grizzlies took the rubber game of a three-game series from the Normal CornBelters, 5-2 on Sunday in Normal.

Richards (3-4), a native of Aviston picked up his second win of the Grizzlies’ six-game road trip. He allowed just five hits while striking out five batters at The Corn Crib. Richards allowed only one run in seven innings during his last start against the Southern Illinois Miners.

The Grizzlies (22-37) and CornBelters (34-26) traded runs in the second inning. Richard Seigel hit an RBI single to score Blake Brown, which gave the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead against CornBelters’ starter Kevin Johnson (4-3). Normal responded immediately when Richard Lucas led off the bottom half of the frame with a single. Lucas came around to score on Sam Judah’s sacrifice fly, which tied the game at 1-1.

Richards and Johnson traded zeroes until the sixth inning, when Gateway’s offense broke through against Johnson. With two outs and Seth Heck on second base, Grizzlies’ first baseman Ben Waldrip collected his 40th RBI on of the season with a run scoring double.

In the seventh, the Grizzlies rallied for two more runs. With two runners in scoring position and one out, Heck floated a single into shallow right field to drive in two runs. The hit gave the Grizzlies a 4-1 advantage.

Richards ran into trouble during both the sixth and seventh innings, but escaped each time with no damage. He struck out Pat McKenna to end the sixth while leaving two runners stranded, and then proceed to strand two more runners on base when he induced a ground out from Mark Micowski to end the seventh.

Jordan Wellander came out of the bullpen to replace Richards in the eighth. Normal scratched across a run to make it 4-2 and then put the tying runs on base with two outs. Grizzlies’ closer Tyler Thompson came on to pitch. Ozney Guillen laced a line drive right back to Thompson, which he was able to swat down with his glove while recording the out at first base.

Grant Buckner smashed a solo homer to give the Grizzlies an insurance run in the ninth. Thompson then completed his fourth save of the season when he retired the side in order to end the game.