Big innings, dominant starting pitching propel ThunderBolts to win

CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to support a gem thrown by Adam Oller on their way to a 7-3 victory over the Evansville Otters in the home opener at Ozinga Field Tuesday night.

After scoring just eight total runs in their season-opening four game road trip, The ThunderBolts (2-3) jumped on the Otters early with four runs in the second inning. Dash Winningham opened the scoring with a solo home run, the Bolts’ first long ball of the year.

Derek Bangert walked and Joe Becht reached on an error before Bangert was able to score on a botched rundown that followed a Blair Beck ground ball. Brynn Martinez’s sacrifice fly scored Becht and David Oppenheim continued his hot start by hitting g a two-out double, scoring Beck and giving Windy City a 4-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, The Bolts loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit by pitch. Oppenheim came through again with a two-run single and Patrick Mathis hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 7-0.

That was more than enough support for Oller who, after allowing an infield single in the first inning, retired the next 16 batters in a row. He threw seven innings overall, allowing only two hits and a walk. He struck out a career-high 16.

The Otters (2-2) scored three late runs off of the ThunderBolt bullpen, including one on a Mitchell Hansen home run, but they left two men on base in the ninth as the Bolts came out victorious in their debut at Ozinga Field.

Oller (1-1) picked up the win, lowering his ERA after two starts to 0.69. Tyler Beardsley (0-1) took the loss after allowing seven runs (five earned) over five innings.

The series continues with back-to-back day games. Wednesday morning is School Day I with a 10:35 start time at Ozinga Field. Kenny Mathews (0-1, 9.00) makes the start for Windy City against former ThunderBolt Jake Welch, making his Evansville debut. Fans not in attendance can listen on WXAV, 88.3 FM and wxav.com.