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Miscues loom large as Freedom fall to Rascals in Frontier League Championship Series opener

Three errors led to three runs and the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions dropped game one of the Frontier League Championship Series, 5-2, to the River City Rascals on Tuesday night at UC Health Stadium.

With southpaw Mike Castellani on the hill, River City took the first lead of the game in the top of the third inning.

Freedom shortstop, Austin Wobrock made an error on a ground-ball off the bat of Tanner Murphy to lead off the frame, and Murphy scored on an RBI-single from Nolan Meadows as the Rascals took a, 1-0, lead.

The Rascals added to their advantage in the fourth as four singles led to three runs.

A second Freedom error by left fielder, Isaac Benard allowed two to cross home-plate on a Murphy one-bagger as the score moved to 3-0. Nick Anderson plated Murphy, shooting the fourth and final single of the inning to increase the visitors lead to, 4-0.

Castellani exited after five innings with the Freedom trailing by four, finishing his second start of the postseason having allowed four runs, two earned on eight hits with no walks and five whiffs in defeat.

Brendan Feldmann made the start for River City, and hung zeros over his first five innings, before Florence scratched across a run in the sixth.

After, Ricky Ramirez Jr. laced a lead-off double, Caleb Lopes knocked his second single off Feldmann to center, putting runners on the edges with nobody out. Andre Mercurio grounded into a double-play as Ramirez scored to pull the home team within three at, 4-1.

The run was the first Feldmann has surrendered in postseason play over 14.1 shutout innings in two starts.

The Freedom continued to battle back in the seventh.

Brandon Pugh worked a pinch-hit walk ahead of an error by Feldmann on a pick-off move to first, which allowed Pugh to scurry to third. Wobrock made the error hurt, lining a sacrifice-fly to right to make it a two-run game, 4-2.

Feldmann was removed in favor of right-hander, Andrew Vernon in the eighth, and finished his night having allowed two runs, one earned, over seven strong innings, He walked one and fanned seven in his second straight victory of the postseason.

After one clean inning of relief from lefty, Hayden Wheeler and right-hander, Ryan Mordecai in the sixth and seventh, River City was able to score one more time in the eighth.

With southpaw, George Faue on the bump in relief of Mordecai in the frame, a throwing error by Lopes at second on a potential double-play allowed Braxton Martinez to touch home and the score moved to 5-2, Rascals.

Still leading by three in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Zgardowski ascended the bump in search of his third save of the postseason.

The power-righty delivered, facing the minimum en route to locking up the, 5-2, River City victory in game one.

Florence will host Game 2 on Wednesday night at UC Health Stadium, lefty, Scott Sebald (1-0, 1.29) toeing the rubber for the home team opposite Taylor Ahearn (1-0, 0.00) for the Rascals. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. in Florence, Ky.

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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