Baseball: ThunderBolts light up for 5-2 win over Gateway Grizzlies
By Steve MIllar For Sun-Times Media July 24, 2013 3:38PM
Updated: August 26, 2013 4:18PM
After scoring just once in the first two games of their series vs. the Gateway Grizzlies, the Windy City ThunderBolts were in dire need of some offensive production Wednesday.
The T-Bolts mixed that sense of desperation with a heavy dose of aggression. They stole four bases in the first three innings, while stretching singles into doubles and doubles into triples to put up five runs in the first four innings.
Combine that with another terrific start from Dyllon Nuernberg and Windy City salvaged the final game of the series with a 5-2 victory at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“We’ve talked a lot about what we want our team to be,” the T-Bolts’ Andrew Brauer said. “We want our identity to be scrappers. We want to bunt, take extra bases and do anything we can to manufacture runs.”
The fans in attendance for “Splash Day” were not only treated to a win from Windy City (24-34), but also were witness to a surprise appearance by the Stanley Cup.
After an event at the adjacent Caesar Park, the Cup was brought to Standard Bank Stadium and paraded around the field after the game’s final out.
That was a thrill for Brauer, a Mokena resident.
“It was very cool,” he said. “I followed (the Blackhawks) when they won it last time (in 2010) but never got a chance to see the Cup. Getting to see it here was a moment I’ll never forget.”
The T-Bolts broke through in a big way early, scoring three times in the first. After Mike Torres walked and stole second, Ryan Soares drove him in with a double down the left-field line. Chad Cregar singled in Soares.
Cregar stole second and took third on an errant throw before scoring on Zach Aakhus’ sacrifice fly.
“We’ve been struggling to produce runs ... we’re going to do whatever it takes to score,” Soares said. “We were aggressive and we knew if we could get Dyllon some early runs, we’d be in good shape.”
Nuernberg (6-1) was unusually wild, walking six, but he held the hard-hitting Grizzlies (35-22) in check, limiting them to one run on two hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and lowered his ERA to 2.33.
“My command wasn’t there like usual, but once I got in the stretch I was like, ‘I’m going to throw strikes, and they’re going to have to get three straight singles off me to score,’ ” he said. “There’s nothing like going out for the second up 3-0 already. We had all the momentum.”
The T-Bolts went up 4-0 — their biggest lead since July 9 — on an RBI single by Kyle Robinson (2-for-4) in the third. Torres singled home Brauer (2-for-3) in the fourth.
The Grizzlies scored single runs in the seventh and eighth, but Michael Click shut them down in the ninth for his 13th save.