NORMAL, Ill. – The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, rebounded from a one-sided loss on Saturday with double-digit wins by scores of 16-1 and 12-1 on Sunday at the Corn Crib.
Both teams scored their lead-off hitter in the first inning as Joliet’s Charlie White hit a screaming line drive home run just over the right field fence on the game’s third pitch, countered by a tying sacrifice fly by Aaron Dudley to the right field warning track to score Mike Fish.
The CornBelters put up their first crooked number of the season in the second inning with RBI singles from Fish and Ty Morris plus a two-run line drive homer to right center by Aaron Dudley to cap a five-run frame for a 6-1 lead.
The Belters extended the advantage to 9-1 in the fifth inning by taking advantage of two walks and three wild pitches plus a two-run double from Dillon Haupt. Normal added insurance in the sixth inning with a two-run homer by Fish, an RBI double by Nolan Meadows, a two-run single by R.J. Perucki and run-scoring singles by Morris and Santiago Chirino for the final score.
Mike Schweiss earned the opening game win with five innings, giving up three hits with one run (earned) on three walks and four strikeouts. Luke Crumley took the loss with two innings of work, giving up four hits but six runs (earned) on two walks and no strikeouts.
The CornBelters exploded right away in Game 2 with five runs in the first inning, which was extended by a two-out error. Run-scoring singles by Haupt and Morris, a bases-loaded walk to Perucki and a two-run single by Dylan Kelly accounted for the tallies.
The Belters continued to pour on the offense in the second inning with four more runs on a two-run double by Haupt, an RBI single by Perucki and a sacrifice fly by Kelly for a 9-0 lead.
The Slammers finally dented the scoreboard in the nightcap in the fifth inning when a fly ball to shallow left fell in, allowing Casey Fletcher to score from first base with two outs.
Max Homick did not allow a baserunner or hit until the fourth inning and earned the win with five innings of work, giving up one run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Joliet starter David Carver took the loss with 1 1/3 innings, giving up nine runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and one strikeout.
The CornBelters take Monday off before continuing the season-opening home stand on Tuesday with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch against the Evansville Otters. Right-hander Jake Negrete starts on the mound for the Belters. Tuesday is Busey Bank Kids Night with half-price box seats for those 12 and under for only $6, plus kids can run the bases after the game.