FLORENCE, Ky. — Tony Vocca returned to form and the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, won their sixth game in a row on Saturday with a 7-1 victory over the Gateway Grizzles at UC Health Stadium.
In the top of the fifth, with the Freedom (50-28) leading 3-0 and the scoreless innings streak reaching 33.1 innings, a leadoff triple by Gateway’s (24-54) Brent Sakurai off Vocca (7-5) paved the way for a Matt Hearn RBI-single, snapping the streak and cutting Florence’s lead to two. Vocca, however, would not allow another run over his six innings of work, inducing four double plays and striking out four while scattering nine hits.
Florence started the scoring in the bottom of the second when Austin Wobrock laced a line drive into center off Gateway starter Vince Molesky (5-7), scoring Collins Cuthrell, who had singled. Andre Mercurio extended the Freedom lead to three when he parked a two-run shot to right off Molesky in the home half of the third.
Mercurio would lead the Freedom with three hits and three RBI in the game and also scored two runs.
With Florence leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Andrew Godbold lined a double to the wall in right-center, scoring Taylor Oldham, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Mercurio then reached on an infield single before Cuthrell plated Godbold with his second single of the game. Keivan Berges followed suit with a line drive into left that scored Mercurio and pushed Florence in front, 6-1.
The Freedom would count one more insurance run off Grizzlies reliever Tanner Cable in the sixth. After hitting Garrett Vail with a pitch and issuing a walk to Daniel Fraga, Cable gave up a run-scoring single to Mercurio.
Enrique Zamora, Jack Fowler and Sam Brunner each threw one scoreless inning of relief, with the help of an additional double play in the eighth, as the Freedom won their sixth straight game and secured the series win over Gateway.
The Freedom will pursue a seventh straight win and the series sweep in Sunday’s finale. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at UC Health Stadium, as Steve Hagen (6-4) will start for Florence against Gateway’s Will Anderson (2-11).
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.