FLORENCE, Ky. — Following an abbreviated outing by starter Tony Vocca, the bullpen picked up the slack for five innings as the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, battled their way to avoid the series sweep with a 6-3 victory over the Joliet Slammers at UC Health Stadium on Sunday.
For the first time all series, the Freedom (22-11) scored first, when Ozzy Braff singled off Slammers (14-19) starter Tasker Strobel (1-2) in the second inning, plating Garrett Vail. Daniel Fraga followed suit with an RBI-single to score Braff, giving Florence a 2-0 lead entering the third inning.
The Slammers would answer in their next at-bat when Chase Patterson hit a solo home run, his first home run of the season, off Vocca to make the score 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, Rock Shoulders smacked his club-leading seventh home run of the season to tie the game at two, ultimately signaling the end of the evening for Vocca, who would be replaced by Marty Anderson (4-1) in the fifth.
The Freedom regained the lead in the home half of the fourth, however, when Collins Cuthrell belted his first home run of the season to put Florence back on top, 3-2. The Slammers struck back again in the top of the fifth, as Juan Silva and Danny Zardon stroked back-to-back doubles off Anderson to tie the score once more.
But Florence regained the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth, as Andre Mercurio broke the tie with an RBI-single to plate Taylor Oldham from second, before playing small ball for a pair of insurance runs in the seventh.
Anderson picked up the win in relief while Laetten Galbraith, Patrick McGrath, and Enrique Zamora bridged the gap with four flawless innings before Matt Pobereyko recorded his ninth of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
After a day off Monday, the Freedom embark on a six-game road trip, beginning with a three-game set against the Normal Cornbelters. First pitch for Tuesday’s series opener is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Central Time at the Corn Crib.
The Florence Freedom are members of the independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at FlorenceFreedom.com, or by phone at 859-594-4487.