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Freedom offense explodes in second straight win; bats around twice, mashes 17 hits in blowout


The Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, scored in bunches for the second night in a row and improved to 2-0 with a 12-6 beating of the Joliet Slammers on Friday at UC Health Stadium.

For the second time in as many nights, the Joliet Slammers jumped out to an early lead when Danny Zardon hit a solo homer to lead off the second inning and put the Slammers up 1-0.

Cody Gray (1-0) settled down, however as he would not allow another run over the next five innings, retiring as many as seven straight batters.

Florence (2-0) would answer in the bottom of the second, sending ten men to the plate in a five run frame. Jordan Brower put the Freedom in front, 2-1 when he deposited a Scot Hoffman (0-1) fastball into the Freedom bullpen in right field, scoring himself and Xavier Turner who singled. Hoffman then walked the bases loaded setting up a Connor Crane single that plated a pair and made the score, 4-1. With two runners in scoring position, Jose Brizuela hit an infield single to drive in one more, pushing Florence in front by four.

Following a Turner double in the bottom of the third, Brower provided another insurance run with a line drive single up the middle that increased the Freedom lead to, 6-1.

The offense did not stop there. In the fourth, Brandon Pugh singled and scored on Brizuela’s second long ball of the series, a two run shot to the opposite field that put the Freedom up by seven. After Turner then reached on an error, Brower made it a four-RBI night with an RBI-single that made the score, 9-1. Ryan Rinsky would then plate Brower with a single of his own before Mike Morris maximized a Keivan Berges single with an RBI-double. The score was 11-1 Freedom after four.

Florence scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth, taking a, 12-1, lead thanks to a Pugh fielder’s choice that plated Berges who singled and advanced to third courtesy a Rinsky single.

Joliet cut the deficit in half the bottom of the eighth, scoring five runs off Freedom reliever Sam Brunner, but the damage had already been done. Tyler Gibson would retire the first man he faced in relief of Brunner, end the inning with the score at, 12-6.

Florence reliever, Johnathon Tripp shut the door in the ninth, picking up a pair of strikeouts and putting the win on ice.

Florence will now look to sweep Joliet on Saturday. Righty, Steve Hagen will start for Florence opposite right-hander, Liam O’Sullivan for Joliet. First pitch at UC Health Stadium is slated for 6:05PM.

Florence Freedom

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