CRESTWOOD, IL – Blair Beck’s fifth-inning RBI double was enough to support a great pitching performance from Will Landsheft as the ThunderBolts won their third straight game to open the season, 1-0 against the Florence Freedom.
The Freedom (3-1), who came in to the game averaging 10.3 runs per contest, were stifled early by Landsheft, who did not allow a hit until a two-out bunt single in the third.
Jordan Kraus matched him pitch for pitch early but ran into trouble in the second inning when an error, a walk and two stolen bases put men at second and third with two outs. Kraus struck out Ransom LaLonde to hold the Bolts (3-0) scoreless.
They did break through against Kraus in the fifth. Darius Day drew his second walk of the evening and moved to second on a passed ball. He stole third base before Beck doubled down the left field line to score him.
Windy City put two more runners at third base during the game but could not add any insurance.
Landsheft made sure they wouldn’t need any. After retiring seven straight hitters, he ran into his last spot of trouble with two outs in the eighth. Brandon Pugh walked and stole second, but Landsheft struck out Connor Crane to end the threat.
Landsheft (1-0) pitched eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts, and ThunderBolt starters have now allowed just one run total in 23 innings. Kraus (1-1) allowed just two hits over 6.2 innings but took the loss. Devin Raftery threw a scoreless ninth for the save.
The series continues with back-to-back morning games, starting on Wednesday at 10:35. Zac Westcott (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the year for Windy City while Florence will counter with Marty Anderson (0-0, 0.00). It is the first of four School Days at Standard Bank Stadium sponsored by Noodles & Company and fans not in attendance can hear the broadcast on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.