A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Freedom blanked by Thunderbolts, 5-0, in rubber match of three-game series Thursday

By David Kubota
NKyTribune reporter

The Florence Freedom dropped a 5-0 decision to the Windy City Thunderbolts in the rubber match of a three-game series Thursday at Standard Bank Stadium.

Florence was in trouble from the beginning, as the Thunderbolts plated four runs against Freedom starter Cody Gray. Will Krug led off with a single and Tim Zier was hit by a pitch. Riley Krane drove one home with a ground ball that ricocheted off Gray’s leg into right field.

With runners on second and third, Larry Balkwill bounced a chopper to Jose Brizuela at third base, setting up a play at the plate. Brizuela’s throw was wild, allowing Zier to score as the Bolts moved in front 2-0.

Two more runs would score on an ensuing triple off the bat of David Oppenheim, giving Windy City a 4-0 lead after one inning.

Thunderbolts pitcher Patrick Ledet shut down the Florence offense with seven scoreless innings. Ledet also struck out six batters.

For the Freedom, Gray allowed only three hits and one run over the next five innings. He managed to strike out six and issued no walks.

The Thunderbolts final run came in the bottom of the sixth. Balkwill singled and then advanced to third on an Oppenheim double. Tyler Straub then hit a drive to right field for a sacrifice fly.

Now up, 5-0 the Thunderbolts pitching and defense held off the Freedom the remainder of the game.

The Freedom did match Windy City with seven hits apiece in the contest, highlighted by Brizuela’s 2-for-4 performance that saw his batting average climb to .318 on the season.

The Freedom will look to regroup as they return to UC Health Stadium for an early-season showdown with the unbeaten Gateway Grizzlies on Friday.

Freedom righty Steve Hagen will take the ball opposite a TBD pitcher for the Grizzlies, with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.

David Kubota is a Scripps Howard Foundation intern at the NKyTribune this summer. He is a student at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

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