(Courtesy Gateway Grizzlies; Photo Credit: Paul Baillargeon)
The Gateway Grizzlies took an early four-run lead and never looked back in an 8-3 win Friday night against the Joliet Slammers at Silver Cross Field.
The win gave Gateway (26-13) their fifth straight win to match their longest win streak of the season. The Grizzlies win extended their lead in the West Division to two and a half games.
Niko Vasquez put Gateway ahead in the first inning on a solo home run to left field against his former team. The home run was his second in as many nights and his third of the season.
Vasquez finished 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI double.
Gateway added a single tally in the second inning and two more in the third inning on a Madison BeairdRBI walk and a Joliet (15-21) error to take a 4-0 lead.
The Slammers scored their first of only two runs against Gateway starting pitcher Aaron Newcomb (7-1) in the fifth inning on a Danny Hernandez RBI double.
Vasquez drove in a run on a double in the sixth inning and Gateway added three more in the seventh to make the score 8-1. Michael Johnson brought in two runs on a double and Kale Kiser picked up a sacrifice fly.
Joliet scored single tallies in the seventh and eighth inning off of Newcomb and reliever Chris DeBoo to make the score 8-3.
Newcomb went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with four strikeouts.
The Grizzlies and Slammers continue their three-game weekend series Saturday night at 6:05. Right-hander Dejai Oliver (2-4) will make the start for the Grizzlies.