The Gateway Grizzlies edged past the Normal CornBelters 3-2 on Friday night at The Corn Crib, as Grizzlies’ outfielder Blake Brown drilled a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.
The Grizzlies (21-36) led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the CornBelters (33-25) came up with two runs off Gateway reliever Scott Harkin (2-3) to tie things up.
Brown stepped to the plate with two outs and nobody on in the ninth against RHP Race Parmenter (1-2), who came into the game with a 1.54 ERA. The Normal, Ill. native blasted his 12th home run of the season to left field. RHP Tyler Thompson entered the game for the Grizzlies in the bottom half of the ninth inning and picked up his third save of the season. He stranded the tying run on base.
Grizzlies’ starter Vince Molesky dazzled through seven innings on the mound, allowing just five hits while striking out five batters. The righty held Normal’s offense scoreless before handing the eighth inning over to Harkin.
Gateway struck first against CornBelters RHP Chandler Jagodzinski. With two runners in scoring position and one out in the fourth, Tyler Tewell hit a run-scoring sac fly to plate Madison Beaird. Tewell’s RBI made it 1-0. Richard Seigel popped a solo homer to right field in the fifth, making it 2-0.
Cody Livesay picked up two hits for Gateway while Beaird led the Grizzlies with three hits during the contest.
The Grizzlies and CornBelters play the second game of their three-game set on Saturday evening at The Corn Crib. LHP Dillon Haviland makes his professional debut for Gateway while the CornBelters counter with RHP Robert Baroniel (0-1, 2.93 ERA). First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF.