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Slammers feeling comfortable at home

Slammers pitcher Jake Hermsen pitches against Normal Cornbelters May 25 2014.| Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

Slammers pitcher Jake Hermsen pitches against the Normal Cornbelters, May 25, 2014.| Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Thunderbolts 7
Traverse City 4

Recap: Mike Torres’ RBI single broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning and Windy City went on to win Sunday afternoon in Traverse City, Michigan. Torres played in his 287th straight ThunderBolts game, setting a Frontier League record. Jessie Snodgrass (1-0) earned the win in relief.

ThunderBolts record: 6-3

Up next: Southern Illinois (Matt Bywater 0-0) at ThunderBolts
(Victor Larez 0-0), 7:05 p.m. Tueday, meridix.com.

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Updated: June 27, 2014 6:34AM



After a dramatic, season-opening sweep against Southern Illinois, the Joliet Slammers hit the road and endured getting swept by the Gateway Grizzlies.

“Me and Darian (Sandford) talked to the guys a little bit. Gateway is a tough team to beat on the road,’’ second-year Slammer Marquis Riley said. “We told them, ‘Keep your head up. We’ve got a good team. Come back here, try to win the series.’ ’’

An 8-4 win Sunday over the Normal CornBelters at Silver Cross Field gave Joliet exactly what Riley described: a series win.

“If we can keep winning two out of three at home, I think we’ll have a pretty good year,’’ third baseman Grant DeBruin said.

DeBruin and Riley, who’s hitting a team-best .405, helped the Slammers raise their record to 5-4 in the West Division.

DeBruin was 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI to raise his average to .344, second-highest on the team after a slow start.

“I had a few days off in spring training, tweaked my hamstring,’’ DeBruin said. “First couple games was getting my timing back down. I’m starting to feel good at the plate, getting pitches up in the zone, fastballs early, something I can hit.’’

The Slammers opened the scoring with three runs in the first, including a sacrifice fly by Russell Moldenhauer and an RBI double from DeBruin.

Max Casper had a two-run single in a four-run fourth that gave Joliet a 7-2 lead. Adam Giacalone hit a solo homer in the fifth. Riley and CJ Epperson each had two hits.

“Everybody really did their part. It was a collective effort,’’ Casper said.

Joliet left-hander Jake Hermsen, a Wisconsin native who played at Northern Illinois and in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, made his first start of the season out of the bullpen.

“It was only a four-hour drive for my family. I had quite a few here,’’ the 24-year-old rookie said. “My wife’s family is originally from Joliet, so it’s a good place to play for me and my wife.’’

Hermsen gave up four runs on seven hits in 42/3 innings, with six strikeouts and two walks.

“I didn’t have my best stuff in this game, but I made pitches when I needed to make pitches, got some big outs,’’ Hermsen said.

Ryan Connolly (11/3 innings, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts) got the win. Brett Zawacki and Jordan Wellander shared the last three innings.

“The bullpen did an outstanding job,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said. “Jake showed us enough that he can be in the rotation.’’

Andrew Busby (0-1, 1.50 ERA) gets his second start Tuesday in the series opener against the Washington Wild Things at Silver Cross Field.



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