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Freedom tame Wild Things to set up road sweep opportunity; Hill gets first professional win

Consistent offense was key as the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, grabbed their second straight win over the Washington Wild Things, 8-4, setting up a sweep opportunity in the Sunday finale at Wild Things Park.

Isaac Benard gave the Freedom (15-10) an early lift, launching a solo-shot to right-center off Wild Things (9-18) starter, Michael Austin (2-3) to lead-off the game in the top of the first.

Not done there, Luis Pintor worked his first of four walks on the night one batter later, and soon found himself standing on third when Austin Wobrock strolled to the plate. Wobrock came through, serving a base-hit to left that plated Pintor and pushed the visitor’s ahead, 2-0.

Washington would answer in their first at-bat off Florence starter, Ryan Hill (1-0). 

After back-to-back base knocks to start the frame put runners on the corners, Shaine Hughes made it a one-run affair when he reached on a fielder’s choice, a hard slide into second from Wander Franco breaking up the potential double-play as the score moved to, 2-1.

The Freedom would answer the bell in the second, adding an additional run to re-claim a two-run edge at, 3-1. Mike Gulino stroked a single to lead-off the inning, and was standing at third two batters later thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Brandon Pugh and a Connor Crane single.

When Crane broke for second in search of a stolen base, Gulino took off for home. Washington elected to throw through to second, but everybody was safe and the Freedom were again in front by a pair.

Adding to their lead in the fourth, Ricky Ramirez Jr. made a third walk to Pintor hurt, blistering his second big-fly of the year over the second row of signage in right-center field. The no doubt about it blast increased the margin to four at, 5-1.

Austin would not come back out for the fifth, ending his night after four complete frames that featured 5 earned runs on 8 hits with 5 walks and 2 striketouts. The righty would go on to take the loss, making him 0-2 in a pair of starts against Florence in 2019.

The Wild Things would close the gap in the home half of the fifth, after Hill recorded two quick outs in succession.

Brett Marr was hit by a pitch, bringing Saige Jenco to the plate with a runner aboard. Jenco would touch ’em all, lifting his team-leading fifth homer of the season way back in right to make the score, 5-3.

The long-ball was the first Washington hit since the bottom of the first inning, as Hill hit his stride in the early innings.

After one clean inning of work from Wild Things southpaw, Nick Durazo in the fifth, Florence broke through on the lefty and knocked him out of the game after he recorded just one out in the sixth.

A walk, a hit batter and catcher’s interference loaded the bases to start the inning, allowing Wobrock to do more damage on a fielder’s choice. Wobrock has now plated eight runs and recorded six hits in five games against his former team in 2019.

His 14 RBI on the season are third most on the Freedom.

Taylor Bryant would deliver the knock-out blow to Durazo, notching a run-scoring single for his second knock of the game as Florence seized control of the game at, 8-3.

Adding a ninth inning double, Bryant finished his night 3-4 at the plate in the winning effort.

Continuing to fight, Washington would plate their final run in the bottom of the sixth, an unearned run charged to Hill that made the score, 8-4. 

The Freedom and Wild Things will square off one final time at Wild Things Park on Sunday, Florence sending out lefty, Mike Castellani opposite southpaw, John Havird for the Things. The lefty showcase will have a 5:35 p.m. first pitch in Washington, Pennsylvania.

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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