The Gateway Grizzlies mounted a late rally in the ninth inning against the Joliet Slammers at Silver Cross Field, but they came up just short in a 2-1 loss Sunday. Gateway left the tying run in scoring position in the ninth.
The victory for the Slammers (5-4) completed a sweep of the Grizzlies and extended their winning streak to five games. With the loss, the Grizzlies (2-7) ended their six-game road trip with a 2-4 record.
Gateway starter Dejai Oliver (0-2) delivered a fine performance in his second start of the season. He scattered five hits and one run in seven innings of work.
Oliver faced the minimum through three innings, but ran into trouble when facing the Joliet lineup for a second time around. Charlie White doubled to start the fourth inning and came around to score on an RBI single by Phil Bates to give Joliet a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 until the eighth inning, when Joliet tacked on a key insurance run against Gateway RHP Zach Loraine. With runners at the corners and two outs, Joliet’s Russell Moldenhour lined a single to right field which scored Bates. The Slammers took a 2-0 lead into the ninth.
With two outs in the top of the ninth and Blake Brown on at second base, Grizzlies’ third baseman Grant Buckner hit a line drive that split the right-center field gap. The hit allowed Brown to score and it pulled the Grizzlies within a tally.
The rally came up short when Joliet right-hander Navery Moore induced a ground out of Ben Waldrip to end the game. Moore picked up his second save of the season.
David Kubiak (1-2) earned the victory after tossing seven shutout innings of two-hit ball. Buckner, Waldrip and Jorge Chavarria each finished with one hit for Gateway.
The Grizzlies return home to Sauget, IL to begin a seven-game homestand starting Monday. Gateway will face the Frontier Greys for one game on Memorial Day. RHP Max Schonfeld (0-0) is scheduled to make the start. RHP Jordan Kraus will take the mound for the Greys. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 pm.