Baseball: Slammers touch Dane Stone, chisel out another close victory
By tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2014 10:02PM
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:36AM
A few numbers indicated the Slammers might have trouble winning their second consecutive game against River City.
Right-hander Dane Stone, the Rascals’ 6-7 starting pitcher, entered Saturday night’s matchup at Silver Cross Field with a 3-0 record and a 0.39 ERA.
Stone had allowed only one earned run in 24 innings this season before Adam Giacalone, Joliet’s leading hitter, homered in the second for a 1-0 lead.
The Slammers added a run in the sixth off Stone and made it stand up for a 2-1 win over the Frontier League West Division leaders in front of 2,060 fans.
Right-hander Andrew Busby (1-2, 4.71 ERA) earned his first professional win in his fourth start of the season for the Slammers (8-12). The 23-year-old Alabama native held the league’s top-hitting team to one run on five hits in seven innings.
“It feels great,’’ Busby said. “I’ve been grinding through a couple bad starts early on. I just had a different mentality about myself, went out there and just tried to throw strikes and let ’em hit it.’’
“They’ve hit some balls hard to center field, which is OK,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said. “The guys have done a nice job of executing pitches. We pitched well in Southern Illinois and these last two games.’’
Jordan Wellander relieved Brett Zawacki with two on and two outs in the eighth and recorded a three-pitch strikeout. Wellander also worked the ninth to earn his second save in two nights.
“It can backfire. I thought that was our best chance,’’ Isom said of the eighth-inning move. “Wellander has swing-and-miss stuff. So does Zawacki.’’
River City (13-7) tied the game 1-1 in the sixth, but the Slammers responded in the bottom half with a two-out rally.
Designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer doubled to the wall in right-center and Grant DeBruin (2-for-3) singled to drive in what turned out to be the game-winner for former Alabama-Huntsville teammate Busby.
“I’ve been struggling a little the last couple games, so it felt good to put a couple hits together and put the team on top and get Busby his first professional win,’’ DeBruin said.
“Last year and this year he’s been pitching great. I’m glad we finally got him one.’’
River City’s Josh Ludy, among the league leaders in batting average, home runs and RBI, has been held to a single in six at-bats in the first two games of the series.
Left-hander Blair Walters (0-2, 2.37), the Slammers’ tough-luck pitcher so far this year, is scheduled to start the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Silver Cross Field.