SAUGET, Ill. — Trae Santos launched two homers — giving him four in the last three games — and the Gateway Grizzlies cruised to a 7-3 win Friday night over the Normal CornBelters at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
After struggling on the road, Santos’ bat has come back to life during the Grizzlies’ homestand. His four homers in the last three days give him five big flies for the season — only one behind the Frontier League lead. Before Wednesday night, Santos had not homered since May 13.
Gateway (9-10) pounced early with four runs in the second inning. Jonathan Piron started the scoring on an RBI double, then Jeff Cardenas walked ahead of an Artemis Kadkhodaian three-run shot, his first home run as a Grizzlie.
Dalton Shalberg (1-0) hurled a second strong start in a row, allowing three runs (all earned) over 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. He picked up the win.
Shalberg’s bullpen backed him up. Josh Glick and Kevin Simmons combined to retire the last 10 batters in order — Glick set down seven, Simmons the final three. They had four total strikeouts.
WATCH: Grizzlies Media Network Reaction to back-to-back Gateway wins. #WelcometoWild https://t.co/OYoMIHNAHO
After a Santos solo home run in the third, Normal (7-11) picked up two runs in the fourth inning. Cody Livesayimmediately responded with an RBI single in the home half to make it a 6-2 Grizzlies lead.
Santos added his second homer — another solo shot — in the eighth.
Gateway will go for a three-game winning streak Saturday with Dakota Smith (2-1, 0.90 ERA) on the mound for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch in game two of a three-game series against Normal.