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Freedom shut out in opener with Rascals, Valentino takes the loss despite quality start

After winning four of five completed games over a six-game home-stand, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, were shut out, 4-0, in a game one loss to the River City Rascals on Tuesday night at CarShield Field.

Frank Valentino (3-3) made the start on the mound for the Freedom (20-12), who saw the Rascals (18-15) score first, plating a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning.

After a quick out, Andrew Penner reached on an error by Florence first baseman, Connor Crane, who could not corral a low throw from Luis Pintor at third, allowing Penner to reach first base.

The next batter, Trevor Achenbach made the miscue hurt, knocking an RBI-triple to give River City the early, 1-0, edge. After the second out of the frame was recorded, Braxton Martinez delivered a run-scoring single that plated Achenbach as the contest became a two-run affair.

The Rascals doubled their advantage in the sixth, getting a two-RBI single from Artemis Kadkhodian before he was thrown out at second attempting to stretch the one-bagger into a double to end the inning.

The 4-0, lead was more than enough for Brendan Feldmann (1-0), who spanned 7 shutout innings on his way to his first Rascals win. The right-hander would surrender four hits and two walks while striking out four.

Despite netting his sixth quality start in seven outings, Valentino would suffer the loss. The righty went six innings and scattered twelve hits that led to four runs, two earned, with five whiffs and no walks.

Making his professional debut with two runners on and no outs in the bottom of the seventh, southpaw, Hayden Wheeler dazzled in relief for the Freedom. The crafty lefty struck out four, including the side in the seventh while preserving the four-run affair.

The teams will square off next on Thursday, when the West Division rivals play a doubleheader at CarShield Field.

The Freedom will throw right-hander, Daniel Williams (1-0, 2.58 ERA) opposite lefty, Alex Winkelman (4-2, 3.00) of the Rascals with game one slated to start at 5:05 p.m. CST. Game 2 will feature Florence southpaw, Mike Castellani (4-1, 2.16) versus a TBD starter for River City, taking place approximately a half-hour after the completion of the leader.

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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