FLORENCE, Ky – On the precipice of an important series sweep, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, put it all together in a, 9-2, dismantling of the River City Rascals at UC Health Stadium on Thursday night. The win increases the Freedom winning streak to four games, and nets them their third series sweep of 2018.
The Freedom (39-36) offense has been sensational with two outs all season, and that continued in the bottom of the first on Thursday. Rascals (38-38) starter, Justin Garcia (1-1), retired the first two men he faced before issuing a base on balls to Ricky Ramirez Jr. Skyler Ewing made it hurt, lifting his twelfth home run of the season to the opposite field in right, giving Florence a, 2-0, lead after one frame.
Chuck Weaver (4-4) continued his dominant stretch of starting pitching, settling into a groove early and carrying a perfect game into the top of the sixth inning.
Florence would offer plenty of run-support to the right-hander, scoring three more runs with two outs in the bottom of the third. In the same fashion as the first, a two-out walk to Ewing set the stage for Keivan Berges’ twelfth big-fly of the season, a two-run blast, but they were not done there. Jordan Brower laced the first pitch he saw to deep right-center one batter later, giving the Freedom their first back-to-back home runs since June 16, 2017. The homer was Brower’s sixth of the year, and first since June 19 of this season against Evansville. The score was now, 5-0, Freedom going into the fourth.
The rout was on in the fourth, as Florence was able to push two more across to extend their lead to, 7-0. Jacob Wark led off the inning with a double, and the next batter, John Price Jr. split the gap in right-center to drive him in. Later in the frame, Caleb Lopes dropped an RBI-double into right-center, scoring Price as the Freedom continued to cruise.
Garcia did not come back out for the fifth inning, as Dalton Roach came on in relief. In total, Garcia was charged with seven runs on eight hits, and walked three batters to combine with one strikeout in the losing effort.
Brower would make it a second multi-homer game in the bottom of the fifth, unloading on an inside pitch from Roach and dropping it in the Freedom bullpen as the score reached, 8-0, Florence.
The Rascals mustered their first base-runner in the sixth, with Zach Lavy reaching second on an error in right-field to thwart the perfect game. After advancing to third on a fly-out, Kevin Suarez squashed the no-hitter and shut-out with a bloop single to center, making it an, 8-1, game. River City continued to chip away in the seventh, scoring one more run on three hits. Weaver only needed six pitches to get two outs, but gave up a pair of consectuive base-hits, one double and one single from Clint Freeman as the Freedom lead stood at, 8-2.
Ewing would re-claim the team lead in home runs to lead-off the seventh, connecting on a Jackson Sigman fastball and sending his second dinger of the night over the wall in right.
Weaver would not come out for the eighth, ending his night having spanned seven innings, scattering four hits that totaled two runs, one earned, with no walks and four strikeouts. The start was the right-hander’s fourth quality start in his last five outings. With Christian DeLeon on the bump in the eighth, the Rascals got two hits but failed to scratch across a run.
After a quiet bottom of the eighth, southpaw, Evan Korson emerged for the final three outs in the ninth. The lefty only faced three batters, whiffing them all as the Freedom converted their third series sweep, and fourth win in a row in a, 9-2, final.
The Freedom will now take the show on the road to historic Bosse Field for a weekend set with the Evansville Otters. Tyler Gibson will get the start in the opener on Friday night, with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. River City will continue their road trip, taking on the first-place in the West Divsion, Normal CornBelters over the weekend at the Corn Crib.
The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Wayin Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.