Freedom Walk Off in Ninth to Take Series

FLORENCE, Ky. — The Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechcanical Solutions, overcame a three-run ninth-inning deficit to win, 11-10, in walk-off fashion in the rubber game of the series over the Lake Erie Crushers Sunday night at UC Health Stadium.

Trailing 10-7, the Freedom (38-22) got a leadoff walk from Andre Mercurio in the bottom of the ninth, followed by a Collins Cuthrell single. Cuthrell then beat out a potential force play at second on a Jordan Brower ground ball, loading the bases. Andrew Godbold drove a two-run double into right field, putting the tying and winning runs into scoring position. Austin Wobrock plated Brower with an infield single to tie the score at 10-10, and Crushers (26-33) reliever Chandler Jagodzinski (2-3) was lifted for Andrew Utterback, who issued an intentional walk to Garrett Vail before Fraga lined his game-winning single to center field.

The win gave the Freedom its third straight series victory, and its third walk-off win of the season.

Lake Erie had jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second when a walk and back-to-back singles plated the game’s first run before L.J. Kalawaia launched his second home run in as many nights, a three-run shot to put the Crushers in front, 4-0.

The Freedom trimmed the deficit to two in the bottom of the second, however, when Mercurio walked and Cuthrell lined a home run over the wall in left field.

The two teams traded two-run blows in the third, as Austin O’Brien hit a two-run homer in the top half before Jose Brizuela answered with a two-run shot of his own, his team-leading 12th of the season, in the home half.

Conner Simonetti’s towering two-run blast to dead center in the top of the seventh re-extended Lake Erie’s advantage to 8-4, before Taylor Oldham crushed a three-run homer off Tylier Campbell in the bottom half of the inning to bring the Freedom back within one run.

A total of six home runs were hit in the game. Fraga recorded three hits to lead the Freedom, while Mercurio extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a third-inning bunt single.

Enrique Zamora pitched a season-high 6.1 innings as Florence’s starter, and Jamal Wilson, Braulio Torres-Perez and Pete Perez (1-0) all appeared in relief, with the latter allowing two runs before escaping the ninth inning.

The Freedom will open a three-game series against the Windy City ThunderBolts on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at UC Health Stadium. Jordan Kraus (8-3) will start for the Freedom against Windy City’s Drake Robison (1-2).

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.