Baseball: Slammers knock off ThunderBolts 7-3
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media August 13, 2013 10:40PM
Updated: September 15, 2013 6:13AM
As hot as the Windy City ThunderBolts have been lately, and as much as the Joliet Slammers have struggled, that’s all changed when the two teams get together.
Joliet topped the T-Bolts for the third time in four meetings since Aug. 3 on Tuesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak while breaking up Windy City’s six-game winning streak with a 7-3 victory at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Grant DeBruin (4-for-5) and Kolin Conner (3-for-4) each drove in two runs to lead the Slammers (32-44), who pounded out 14 hits.
“It felt really good getting four hits,” DeBruin said. “I did a really good job seeing the ball. This was a great team effort. We have to go from here and keep the train rolling.”
It was a costly day for the T-Bolts (36-40), who saw their already slim playoff hopes take a big hit as the loss, coupled with Lake Erie’s doubleheader sweep of Washington, put them nine games out of a wild card spot with 20 to go.
“We’ve been doing a pretty good job lately, just not tonight,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “(Joliet) hit us well and we made some mistakes that cost us.”
After falling into an early 3-0 hole, the Slammers turned things around with two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
Niko Vasquez, DeBruin and Kolin Conner all doubled off Windy City starter Brian Oliver in the fourth, the latter two driving in runs.
In the fifth, Joliet took advantage of three Oliver walks and got an RBI triple from Jerod Yakubik. DeBruin and Conner produced consecutive two-out RBI singles to put the Slammers on top 5-3.
Oliver (4-7) lasted 42/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits, including four extra-base hits, and four walks. He struck out four.
Joe Meggs doubled to lead off the seventh, moved to third on Darian Sanford’s bunt single and scored on Marquis Riley’s sacrifice fly to increase the lead to three.
Former Slammer and Mokena resident Andrew Brauer prevented further damage with two outs in the inning, slamming into the right-field wall and making a catch to rob Yakubik of a likely two-run extra-base hit.
Joliet added an insurance run on Vasquez’s sacrifice fly in the ninth.
The T-Bolts took advantage of Slammers starter Corey Kimes’ bout with wildness in the third as they loaded the bases on walks to Mike Torres and Ryan Soares and Chad Cregar’s hit by pitch.
Zach Aakhus (2-for-4, 2 doubles) made Kimes pay. Despite Kimes’ wildness, Aakhus went after the first pitch he saw and it paid off as he lined a three-run double into the right-center field gap to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.
Kimes (4-6) settled down from there, working around six walks to hold Windy City to three earned runs on four hits over 61/3 innings. He struck out six.
Brett Zawacki pitched a perfect final two frames for his first save.