Sauget, Ill. – The Gateway Grizzlies (10-16) used timely hitting and strong bullpen work on Friday night to beat the Normal CornBelters (9-15) at GCS Ballpark, 6-3.
Normal struck with the game’s first tally in the second inning as they manufactured a run against Gateway starter Adam Eggnatz. The Grizzlies responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame as Brandon Thomas scored on a wild pitch from RHP Eddie Cody (1-1).
In the fourth, the Grizzlies tacked on two runs when Logan Davis hit a ball that was bobbled by Normal second baseman Santiago Chirino. The error allowed Thomas and Tyler Tewell to race home while it gave the Grizzlies a 3-1 edge.
After an RBI single from Nolan Meadows in the fifth, the CornBelters pulled even in the sixth when RHP Nate Carter (2-2) walked in a run to tie the game at 3-3. Carter would still come away with a victory.
In the sixth, the Grizzlies exploded for three runs on four hits. Sam Fischer gave the Grizzlies a 4-3 lead with an RBI single that plated Tewell. Gateway scratched across two more runs to make it 6-3.
Gateway’s bullpen took over and dazzled the rest of the way. RHP Jordan Wellander tossed 1.2 scoreless frames while LHP Jon Jones finished the eighth and got the first two outs of the ninth inning. RHP JaVaun West collected his fifth save of the season by getting the final out of the game and stranding the tying run at home plate.
The Grizzlies and CornBelters continue their series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday evening. Gateway sends RHP Dakota Smith (0-1, 4.97 ERA) to the mound against RHP Chris Carmain (0-3, 5.51 ERA) for Normal.
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Saturday on 1400 AM KJFF and www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio
. Sam Levitt and Matt Sabados have the call.