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Freedom lock down Slammers on opening night at UC Health Stadium; Gibson dazzles on the bump

On Opening Day of the 2019 campaign, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, erased an early two run deficit on their way to a, 9-2, victory over the Joliet Slammers on Friday at UC Health Stadium.

Freedom starting pitcher Tyler Gibson got the season off to a good start, giving up just two runs in six innings of work.


The Freedom (1-0) fell behind in the visitor’s side of the fourth, when Brian Parreira ripped a two-run single up the middle off Tyler Gibson (1-0), scoring Tyler Coolbaugh and Riley Krane who walked and singled, respectively.

Joliet (1-1) also got a superb start from right-hander Matt Quintana, who did not allow a run and scattered two hits over five shut-out innings on his way to a no-decision.

Florence took their first lead of the night in the home half of the sixth, touching up the Slammers to the tune of seven runs.

After Drew Pedan (0-1) issued a pair of walks to start the frame, Andre Mercurio plated the Freedom’s first run with a line drive to left, scoring Luis Pintor to cut the deficit to one. With one out and runners at second and third, Slammers manager, Jeff Isom called on righty Cody Clark to escape the jam.

Taylor Bryant greeted the incoming hurler by lacing a two-run single passed a drawn in infield, pushing the Freedom in front, 3-2. An ensuing single and walk set Florence up with the bases loaded when Connor Crane was hit by a pitch to make it a two-run Freedom lead at 4-2.

With the bases still loaded, Clark threw a wild pitch that allowed Austin Wobrock to score and Mike Gulino to move up to third. Isaac Benard plated Gulino with a sacrifice fly to left, and Pintor made the score 7-2 with an RBI-double that plated Crane. The Freedom batted around in the frame, sending ten men to the plate when all was said and done.

Gibson would not come back out for the seventh, finishing his night having allowed two earned runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts in the winning effort.

The Freedom would pad their lead in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a Wobrock sacrifce fly that was nearly a three run homer, but Travis Bolin made a leaping catch at the wall to limit the damage. Not done yet, Gulino added one more run to the ledger with an RBI-double down the third baseline, scoring Bryant who worked a walk earlier in the frame as the score moved to, 9-2.

Joliet failed to score off three Florence relievers, as Brian McKenna, Karl Craigie and John LaRossa all worked one clean inning of relief in the victory.

The two teams will square off in the middle game of this weekend three-game set on Saturday. Left-hander Scott Sebald will make the start for Florence, opposite southpaw Tyler Jandron of the Slammers with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. at UC Health Stadium.

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.

Florence Freedom

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