FLORENCE, Ky. — Despite trailing by five in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, snapped their five-game losing streak with a come-from-behind win, 7-6, over the Normal CornBelters on Friday at UC Health Stadium.
With the score tied at six in the bottom of the ninth, Austin Wobrock was hit by a pitch and Daniel Fraga hit a ground ball to Normal (24-28) third baseman Justin Fletcher, who threw errantly past first base, allowing Wobrock to score the winning run for the Freedom (33-19).
Florence reliever Keivan Berges (2-1) picked up the win with a spotless share of the ninth inning in which Florence used two pitchers. The other, Matt Kaster, was pulled following a double by Aaron Dudley and two walks. Berges induced a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly to Fletcher to tie the game at 6-6 before escaping the jam with a lineout. Chad Gendron (0-1) suffered the loss in relief for Normal.
The CornBelters started the scoring in the top of the first inning when back-to-back walks issued by Freedom starter Enrique Zamora set up a Fletcher RBI-single.
Normal played small ball in the top of the third, plating a second run on a sacrifice fly by Fletcher to take a 2-0 lead.
The CornBelters extended their lead to 5-0 in the top of the sixth, rallying for three runs off Florence reliever Sam Brunner on three hits. Santiago Chirino delivered the key hit in the inning, a two-RBI double, but was thrown out attempting to stretch a double into a triple to end the rally.
The Freedom, however, stormed back with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, when Jordan Brower lined a ground-rule double to right-center field with the bases loaded, plating two runs to trim the deficit to 5-2. Andre Mercurio followed suit with a two-run single as the Freedom pulled within one run. After a Ryan Rinsky single and a walk to Wobrock, Fraga laced a two RBI-single to put the Freedom in front, 6-5.
The six-run outburst handed Normal starter Edgar De La Rosa a no-decision, in spite of the right-hander’s eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings.
Florence will look to take the weekend series on Satuday when Cody Gray takes the mound opposite a TBD starter for the Cornbelters with first pitch slated for 7:05 at UC Health Stadium.
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.