SAUGET – The Gateway Grizzlies suffered a frustrating, 5-4 loss to the Washington Wild Things on Wednesday afternoon at Grizzlies Ballpark, dropping the middle game of their midweek series.

The Grizzlies got on the board first with two outs in the bottom of the first inning against Malik Barrington. Andrew Moritz had led off the inning with a walk, and after Barrington got the next two batters out, Peter Zimmermann and Jack-Thomas Wold singled on back-to-back pitches, the latter of which driving in Moritz and making the score 1-0.

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It would remain that way thanks to Collin Sullivan, who allowed just two hits in the first four innings while striking out six in that span. In the fifth, Washington scratched across the tying run on an RBI single by Caleb McNeely with the bases loaded, but Sullivan bore down and retired the next two Wild Things hitters to keep the game tied.

Gateway then took the lead right back in the same inning, as Abdiel Diaz walked, stole second, and went to third on a throwing error by Washington catcher Ricardo Sanchez. Moritz then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to put the Grizzlies ahead 2-1.

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After a scoreless sixth, the game turned dramatic in the top of the seventh. With two outs and runners at first and second base, Nate Garkow got Tommy Caufield to pop up a pitch to shallow right field, a ball that seemed destined to be caught to preserve the Grizzlies’ lead. But the ball dropped in between Kevin Krause and Tate Wargo for a hit, with both runners scoring on the play to give Washington a 3-2 lead. After a stolen base, Wagner Lagrange singled on an 0-2 pitch to drive in Caufield and make the score 4-2.

Gateway would respond in the bottom of the same inning, as Wargo singled with one out into left field for his first professional hit, went to second base on a passed ball, then third on a groundout before scoring on a wild pitch by Frankie Giuliano to make it a 4-3 contest. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Krause came up leading off the inning against Alex Carrillo (1-0), and slammed a line drive solo home run to right field to tie the score at 4-4.

But Washington took the lead in the same fashion against Nathanial Tate (1-1) in the top of the ninth, as McNeely found the short porch in right field for a go-ahead solo shot. The Grizzlies would go down in order against Gyeongju Kim in the bottom of the ninth, as the right-hander secured his eighth save of the season.

The Grizzlies will look to put the loss behind them against the Wild Things in a crucial rubber game on Thursday, June 13, at Grizzlies Ballpark, with Teague Conrad starting the contest against Washington’s Jordan DiValerio.

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