SAUGET – The Gateway Grizzlies lost the rubber game of their weekend series to the Windy City ThunderBolts 2-0 on a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning by Christian Kuzemka, his third homer of the weekend, falling to 4-5 on the season.

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The game was 0-0 for the first eight innings. Teague Conrad made his professional debut on the mound, and pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts. He was equaled by Windy City’s Will Armbruester, who limited the Grizzlies to just three hits and three walks with five strikeouts over six innings.

Both teams had several chances to break the 0-0 deadlock. In the fifth, Windy City got their first two men on base to chase Conrad, but Matt Hickey was able to strike out two and strand the bases loaded that inning. The ThunderBolts also were issued a pair of two-out walks in the seventh inning by Joel Condreay, but the right-hander also picked up a big strikeout to get out of that jam.

For the Grizzlies, they got their lead off man on base in the seventh inning on a walk around a 41-minute mound delay, and in the eighth inning on an error, but could not score the lead run. In the ninth, Lukas Veinbergs (0-1) issued a one-out walk to nine-hole hitter Wyatt Stapp, and got Cam Phelts out on a sacrifice bunt for the second out of the inning.

That brought up Kuzemka, who capped off a three-hit day and a remarkable, 10-RBI series with a home run to the short porch in right field to make it 2-0. Former Grizzlie Greg Duncan worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth for the save, sending the Grizzlies to the frustrating defeat.

Gateway will look to rebound on a six-game road trip that begins on Tuesday, May 21, in Florence against the Y’alls, with first pitch of the series opener in Kentucky set for 5:42 CT.

Strong Pitching Leads Grizzlies To Win

The Gateway Grizzlies bounced back on Saturday night at Grizzlies Ballpark with a 4-2 victory over the Windy City ThunderBolts, tying the weekend series at one game apiece.

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Gateway was able to take a 1-0 lead immediately in the first inning. Gabe Holt reached on an infield single and Jack-Thomas Wold walked with one out. Two batters later, D.J. Stewart lined an RBI single into the outfield to make it 1-0 on the first of his four hits on the night.

Collin Sullivan took it from there, as the Gateway starter allowed just one baserunner in the first four and two-thirds innings that he pitched, retiring 12 consecutive Windy City batters. In the process, Holt reached on another infield hit in the third inning, with Stewart driving him in once more on an RBI single to make it a 2-0 Gateway lead.

In the fifth, Sullivan issued a two-out walk to Joe Johnson to break up the streak of batters retired, and Christian Kuzemka tied the game at 2-2 with a home run to right-center field. In the next inning, however, the Grizzlies would take the lead for good- Cole Brannen led off against Windy City’s Eric Hildebrand (0-1), stole second base, and went to third when the throw from the catcher hit him sliding into second. Jose Alvarez then singled Brannen home for a 3-2 Grizzlies lead.

In the eighth inning, Gateway scored a valuable insurance run to pad their lead. Brannen walked again to lead off the inning, and Abdiel Diaz came up clutch with an RBI double to make the score 4-2 in his season debut with the club. That would be all the Grizzlies needed, as the bullpen of Nate Garkow (1-0), Alec Whaley, Osvaldo Berrios retired all 10 batters they faced to set up Lukas Veinbergs in the ninth, with the Gateway closer notching his third save of the season to seal the win.

Grizzlies Blown Out In Home Opener

The Gateway Grizzlies were blown out in their home opener on Friday night, falling behind 15-0 before getting on the board in what became a 16-2 loss against the Windy City ThunderBolts at Grizzlies Ballpark.

Neither team scored in the first two innings, but a leadoff hit batter by Ryne Moore (0-1) turned into a sacrifice fly by Joe Encarnacion in the third inning for a 1-0 Windy City lead. In the following inning, a leadoff walk by Moore set the stage for a five-run inning that included an RBI double by J.J. Figueroa, an RBI single by Paul Coumoulos, and a three-run homer by Encarnacion that made the score 6-0.

It did not stop there for the visitors- Parker Johnson relieved Moore in the fifth, and surrendered a two-run double with two outs to Christian Kuzemka to make it 8-0. In the sixth inning, things fell apart for Johnson and the Grizzlies, as Windy City sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the frame on four hits, using a pair of walks, wild pitches, and Gateway errors to aid the big frame that featured a grand slam by Kuzemka as the defining blow.

Down 15-0, the Grizzlies were able to get on the board in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by D.J. Stewart as well as a fielder’s choice by Cole Brannen, but the damage was already done, as the Grizzlies fell under the .500 mark at 3-4. In the game, the Grizzlies amassed ten total hits, including two-hit days from Stewart, Kyle Gaedele, and Andrew Moritz, but could not stop the deficit from snowballing in the series opener.

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