Entering the week with a one-game lead over the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League West Division, the Windy City ThunderBolts had a chance to put themselves in a more comfortable position with a series win over the Grizzlies at home.
Instead, the T-Bolts can only hope to avoid a sweep after Gateway won for the second straight night Wednesday, holding Windy City to one hit in a 7-1 romp at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Gateway (50-36) has a one-game lead over Windy City (49-37), which is tied with Schaumburg and Lake Erie for the final wild-card spot with 10 games left.
Grizzlies starter Paul Tremlin took a no-hitter into the seventh, when he walked Brandon Decker and Zach Aakhus before C.J. Gillman rolled an RBI single up the middle with two outs for the hosts’ only hit.
After Tremlin (6-3) went seven, Zac Treece pitched the final two innings without allowing a hit for his third save.
The T-Bolts had seven baserunners in all, drawing five walks and getting a man on via an error, but never had more than one man on in any inning aside from the seventh.
The Grizzlies struck right away against T-Bolts starter Blayne Weller, who paid for a two-out walk in the first when Jon Myers produced an RBI double.
After two walks and a passed ball led to an unearned run for Gateway in the second, John Shelby launched the Grizzlies’ fourth home run of the series, a two-run shot for a 4-0 lead in the fourth.
That ended the night for Weller (5-3), who lasted just three-plus innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out four.
Andrew Chilcoat, Andy Mee and Lansing native Shane Zegarac combined for five innings of scoreless relief to keep the T-Bolts in the game before Michael Click walked two and hit a batter in the ninth, leading to three runs.