FLORENCE, Ky. — Taylor Oldham launched a pair of home runs as the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, stormed back from behind two different times in a 5-4 walk-off win in Game 3 of the Frontier League Division Series on Friday at UC Health Stadium.
With the game tied at four and the Freedom (2-1) down to their final out in the home half of the ninth, Taylor Oldham sent a no-doubt blast to left-center off Wild Things (1-2) closer Zach Strecker (0-2) giving the Freedom a 5-4 win that surged them ahead of Washington, two games to one, in the FLDS.
Jamal Wilson (1-0) earned the win in relief, retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth, his only inning of work.
The Wild Things started the scoring in the top of the second when Mike Hill took Florence starter Steve Hagen deep to left field for a home run. Bralin Jackson added a RBI-single in the third to extend the Washington advantage to two.
Oldham responded in the home half of the third, however, following Daniel Fraga’s first base hit of the post-season with a towering two-run blast off Wild Things starter Ethan Gibbons, knotting the score at 2-2.
Florence took their first lead of the game when Keivan Berges belted a solo shot over the Freedom bullpen in right field, pushing the Freedom in front, 3-2, after four innings.
Washington would even the score again when Kyle Reese led off the top of the seventh with a solo shot to right off Hagen. Hagen would then induce Justin Bohn into a ground out to short before being pulled from the game in favor of Mike Anthony. The Wild Things soon took the lead when Anthony surrendered a James Harris single before Rashad Brown reached on a Fraga error that allowed Harris to reach third. Brown then stole second, drawing a throw from Florence catcher Garrett Vail, allowing Harris to scamper home and give the Wild Things a 4-3 lead.
The Freedom would tie the game for the last time in the bottom of the eighth. After an Andre Mercurio single off reliever Davis Adkins, Washington brought in Frank Trimarco to set up a lefty-on-lefty battle with Jordan Brower. Brower would single off Trimarco, pushing Mercurio to second and drawing another call to the bullpen, this time for closer Zach Strecker. Strecker induced a sharp groundball from Keivan Berges, but Kane Sweeney couldn’t field it cleanly, enabling Mercurio to race home to even the score at 4-4.
First pitch for Game 4 of the Frontier League Division Series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Saturday at UC Health Stadium. Cody Gray will start on the mound for the Freedom against Washington left-hander Brian O’Keefe.
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.