Normal, Ill. – The Gateway Grizzlies pitching staff gave up 13 runs on 16 hits as they fell to the Normal CornBelters on Thursday night at the Corn Crib. Normal swept a three-game series from Gateway with the victory.
RHP Will Landsheft (3-5) was solid on the mound for three innings, but ran into major trouble in the fourth. Aaron Dudley smacked a solo homer to left field to lead off the frame for the CornBelters (23-25) and that was followed by a single from Jesus Solorzano. Nolan Meadows then stepped in and launched a two-run shot to right field to make it 3-0.
Normal would ultimately get five straight hits to begin the inning, with another two-run blast from Dillon Haupt capping things off. Gateway (25-25) trailed 5-0.
After getting a run back in the fifth, Landsheft got into another jam in the sixth. Haupt started the inning with a single and advanced to third on a ground rule double from Craig LePre. RJ Perucki then laced a single to score a run. RHP Jon Pusateri came on in relief.
The CornBelters got seven straight batters on-base before Gateway’s pitching got a single out in the inning. Pusateri could not retire a batter and would give up three runs. LHP Jon Jones came in and allowed two more runs before the frame was over. Normal scored eight runs on eight hits to take a 13-1 advantage at the end of the sixth.
On the other side of things, RHP Michael Schweiss (3-4) was very good on the mound for Normal as he tossed seven inning while allowing just three runs.
There were offensive bright spots for the Grizzlies late in the ballgame, as Jason Scholl popped a two-run blast in the seventh against Schweiss. It was Scholl’s second homer of the season.
Gateway scored three more in the eighth. Zach Lavy collected an RBI with a single while Scholl continued his impressive night with a two-run double. Lavy and Scholl are both rookies. The Grizzlies also tacked on two more in the ninth as Blake Brown and Ben Waldrip had run-scoring hits.
The Grizzlies continue the road trip on Friday. They begin a three-game set at Bosse Field against the Evansville Otters at 6:35 p.m. RHP Dakota Smith takes the mound for Gateway against LHP Hunter Ackerman for Evansville.
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Friday on 1400 AM KJFF and online at www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio
. Sam Levitt has the play-by-play call.