The Windy City ThunderBolts avoided being shut out for the 10th time this season when newly-acquired shortstop Chase Tucker delivered an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning Monday night.
Aside from that, the highlights were few and far between as the T-Bolts’ first home game of the second half of the season ended with an ugly 6-1 loss to the Gateway Grizzlies at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Matt Sergey, who entered the night 0-2 with a 5.62 ERA, held the T-Bolts to two hits in six shutout innings to record his first professional win.
In its third straight loss, Windy City (23-33) was held to six hits in all. Three came off the bat of Jayce Ray, who went 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of singles in his fourth professional game.
The T-Bolts signed Ray, who finished his college career at the University of Washington this spring, Wednesday and he’s gone 6-for-14 hitting in the leadoff spot.
With the ninth-inning run, Windy City avoided taking a step closer to making dubious history. The franchise record for games being shut out is 11 and the league mark stands at 15.
Windy City errors and mental mistakes helped Gateway (34-21) in each of the three innings in which it scored.
After Chris McClendon (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI) led off the fourth with a double, Jon Myers hit a bouncer right back to T-Bolts starter Brian Oliver. Oliver, though, did not look McClendon back to second base, and he was able to take third.
That proved costly as Antone DeJesus followed with an RBI grounder to produce the game’s first run.
A two-run sixth inning for the Grizzlies again started with McClendon leading off, as he drew a walk. One out later, DeJesus laid down a bunt that third baseman Ryan Soares could not handle.
The ball bounced off Soares and rolled towards home plate, where no one was there to get it as catcher Zach Aakhus was covering third. That allowed the runners to move up to second and third, and both scored on Jose Flores’ single.
McClendon continued to haunt the T-Bolts, producing an RBI double in the seventh. He then scored on an error by Tucker to make it 5-0. McClendon drove in another run with a ninth-inning single.
Oliver (2-6) allowed three earned runs (five total) on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked four.
Windy City stranded nine runners, seven in scoring position.
Before the game, Windy City placed outfielder Nathan Pittman on the suspended list. Pittman, who started strong in his rookie season but saw his batting average fall from .357 to .160 over the last month, chose to leave the team.