Bullpen stumbles for ThunderBolts
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 10, 2012 9:38PM
The way the Windy City ThunderBolts’ bullpen has pitched, late leads have been automatic most of the season.
Not Sunday night.
The Florence Freedom rallied from a 6-4 deficit for a 9-7 win, taking advantage of poor T-Bolts defense to score five unearned runs and hand the hosts a series loss at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“Our (pitching) staff has been carrying us,” said the T-Bolts’ Mike Torres, who was 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run. “This kind of night is going to happen.”
Florence (11-10) used a Chris Curley solo home run off Andy Mee in the seventh and a John Malloy solo shot off Shane Zegarac in the eighth to tie the game at 6.
A ninth inning that was disastrous for the T-Bolts (12-7) began when Rodriguez reached on a dropped-third strikeout because of a wild pitch.
Zegarac then mishandled Cole Miles’ bunt. One out later, Curley sent a fly ball to center field that Jareck West misplayed, resulting in a two-run triple. Curley later scored to make it 9-6.
The T-Bolts got a run back on Bryan Burke’s single in the bottom of the inning and had the tying runs on base with two outs, but Brandon Mathes got Zach Aakhus to bounce into a fielder’s choice to record his first save.
Jose Velazquez (2-0) tossed 21/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win.
Lansing native Zegarac (1-1), who hadn’t allowed an earned run in 10 innings this season prior to Sunday, gave up two in an inning and took the loss.
The T-Bolts scored three times in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead after a runner’s interference call on Chris Wade seemed to fire up the squad.
After the call — and after Windy City manager Morgan Burkhart was ejected for the second time in three games for arguing — Torres delivered an RBI double and Brandon Decker and Aakhus each had run-scoring singles.
“We’ve had our battles with (umpire Matt Moore),” Torres said. “Any time you have a manager that goes out and has your back, you want to back him up, too.”
Torres also had an RBI single in the third and a run-scoring double in the sixth.
Travis Weaver added an RBI hit.
T-Bolts starter Donovan Drake allowed one earned run in five innings in his pro debut.