A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Freedom sweep the Rascals at UC Health Stadium; hit the road until after the All star break

Jose Brizuela belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning to propel the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, to their sixth series sweep of the season as they topped the River City Rascals, 5-3, on Thursday at UC Health Stadium.

Following a dropped third strike that allowed Taylor Oldham to reach first base with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, River City (20-23) skipper Steve Brook made his second pitching change of the night, replacing reliever Jason Zgardowski (1-3) with southpaw Anthony Paesano to face Brizuela. Despite promptly falling behind 0-2, Brizuela fouled off six pitches and worked the count full before ending the twelve-pitch at-bat with a line-drive home run to right-center, putting Florence (30-12) in front by the eventual final score, 5-3.

A Jeff Kerrigan RBI-single off Freedom starter Zach Kirby in the second inning and a solo shot by Josh Silver put River City on top 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, where Rascals starter Tim Koons carried a perfect game. Leading off the home half of the fifth, however, Andre Mercurio broke up the perfect game with a single to right field and later came around to score on a bases-loaded walk by Ryan Rinsky, making the score 2-1.

The Freedom would tie it in the bottom of the sixth with Oldham launching his second home run of the series to knot the score at two.

In the bottom of the seventh, Florence took their first lead of the night by a score of 3-2, thanks to a go-ahead solo home run to left field by Collins Cuthrell. River City promptly tied it back up in the top of the eighth, however, when a Kerrigan single and stolen base led to an RBI-single by Josh Silver off Freedom reliever Keivan Berges (1-0).

Following the eighth-inning go-ahead blast by Brizuela, Enrique Zamora pitched a flawless ninth inning to end the night.

The Freedom will hit the road for a brief two-day road trip to Evansville, Indiana for a three-game series against the Evansville Otters. Tony Vocca (5-2) will start for Florence against Evansville right-hander Diego Ibarra (1-1), and first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Central Time at Bosse Field.

The Florence Freedom are members of the independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at FlorenceFreedom.com, or by phone at 859-594-4487.

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