SAUGET – The Gateway Grizzlies got a huge day from leadoff man Andrew Moritz, who went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and two RBIs to help lead the club to a 9-4 victory over the Joliet Slammers at Grizzlies Ballpark on Thursday night, sweeping the three-game series and improving to 12-6 on the year with their fifth straight win.

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Just like the last two nights, Gateway put up multiple runs in the first inning to take the initial lead, with Moritz leading off against Brett Sanchez (1-1) with a blast down the right field line to make it 1-0, and Jack-Thomas Wold adding a two-out RBI single later in the inning to double the Grizzlies’ lead.

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The Slammers had an answer, though, as they scored two runs on a pair of RBI fielder’s choice plays in the second inning to make the score 2-2, and then taking the lead in the third inning on a Jonathan Sierra RBI single at 3-2. Grizzlies starter Collin Sullivan (1-2) would settle in, however, and pitch a season-high six innings in the contest while permitting only one more Slammers run to cross the plate.

Meanwhile, the Gateway offense kept on scoring- in the bottom of the third, Kevin Krause continued his torrid series with a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 3-3, and in the fourth inning, Mark Vierling smacked a go-ahead two-run homer to right field, his first of the year, making the score 5-3. The Grizzlies also added a Gabe Holt RBI single later in the three-run inning to go ahead 6-3.

After the Slammers got one run back on a Tommy Stevenson RBI single in the fifth inning to make it a 6-4 ballgame, the Grizzlies expanded their advantage by scoring single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, with Holt and Moritz picking up an additional RBI hit each, joined by Peter Zimmermann, who slammed his sixth homer of the season out to left field for the final margin.

Still just one-half game back of first place in the early West Division standings and having won eight of their last nine games overall, the Grizzlies will look to keep their momentum going when they open up the back end of their home stand on Friday, May 31, against the Evansville Otters. First pitch at Grizzlies Ballpark is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, with Teague Conrad kicking off the series on the mound against Evansville’s Parker Brahms.

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