Baseball: ThunderBolts fall 2-0 to Evansville Otters
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media July 21, 2014 10:18PM
Updated: August 23, 2014 6:19AM
In topping the Joliet Slammers on Saturday and Sunday, the Windy City ThunderBolts won consecutive games for the first time since May 25 and 27.
Monday, Trevor Walch and the Evansville Otters made sure the T-Bolts wouldn’t make it three in a row.
Playing at home for the first time in 18 days, Windy City managed just two hits against Walch and a trio of relievers, wasting a strong start from Josh Spence and falling 2-0 at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“(Walch) mixed up his pitches and kind of pitched backward,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “He was able to get that slider over for a strike and then he pounded fastballs when he needed to. He really kept us off balance all night. I don’t we had many strikeouts (six), just a lot of groundouts and flyouts and hitting it at people.”
Walch went seven shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak to 19.
Despite the two hits, the T-Bolts (19-35) did have some chances, getting a runner to second with no outs three times but failing to produce the big hit.
With Evansville (32-21) leading 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Mike McGuckin reached second on an error, but Evan Button struck out and Mike Torres flied out to deep left against Otters reliever Anthony Collazo.
After an intentional walk to Kyle Robinson, Brandon Shimo got Ryan Soares to bounce back to the mound to end the threat. Evansville added an insurance run against Jessie Snodgrass in the ninth before Orlando Santos set the T-Bolts down in order in the bottom for his ninth save.
Spence, a former major leaguer with the San Diego Padres, turned in by far his best outing in his sixth start with the team and first at home, aside from a two-inning rain-shortened outing July 2.
He went seven innings, scattering eight hits and walking one. The only run he allowed was on a fifth-inning Jeremy Nowak home run.
“I was just trying to get ahead of hitters and get them to hit my pitch,” Spence said. “I’m just taking baby steps (as a starter). It was nice to get through the order three times. I’ve had some problems with that, so it was better this time around.”
Spence, whose pitches top out in the mid 80s (mph) and often are in the 70s, struck out nine.
“It’s not my main goal to get strikeouts, but I think I got ahead of hitters and they didn’t see many pitches, so I was able to sneak out a few more strikeouts than anticipated,” he said.
Windy City had runners at the corners with one out in the second, but Davidson Peguero grounded into a double play.
In the fourth, Robinson led off with a double but was thrown out at third trying to advance on Ryan McIntyre’s grounder.
The teams will conclude the series with consecutive 10:35 a.m. games Tuesday and Wednesday.