Mike Gulino delivers walk-off single in the twelfth
FLORENCE, Ky– In game one of a three-game mid-week set between two teams leading their respective divisions, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, emerged, 3-2, in a twelve inning slobber-knocker at UC Health Stadium on Tuesday night.
Stalemated at, 2-2, with one out in the bottom of the twelfth, Mike Gulino stepped up to the plate to face Boomers (16-12) reliever, Connor Eller (3-1) with Tyler Reichenborn standing at second as the Freedom (17-10) International Tie-Breaker runner. For the second time in as many games, Gulino delivered the game winning-hit, scorching a single to left that scored Reichenborn after a play at the plate, and gave Florence the walk-off, 3-2, victory. Following two more stellar innings of relief from Freedom closer, Johnathon Tripp (3-1) in the eleventh and twelfth, it was the right-hander who walked away with his third win of the season, adding four strikeouts while fanning the side in the twelfth.
Schaumburg started the scoring in the top of the second, plating a run on three hits with the RBI going to Julio Gonzalez on a fielder’s choice that plated Nick Oddo.
Florence would answer in the bottom of the fourth, Reichenborn delivering a sacrifice-fly off Boomers starter, Gunnar Kines that scored Luis Pintor, who worked a walk three batters previous. The RBI was the first for the 20 year old rookie who signed with the Freedom earlier in the afternoon. The Bonita Springs, Fl native would be involved in every run Florence scored during his professional debut, and would even throw a runner out at the plate to preserve a tie in the top of the eleventh.
The Boomers again jumped in front in the seventh, Jack Parenty plating Connor Oliver with a triple to push the visitors ahead, 2-1. The run would be the final allowed by Freedom starter, Tyler Gibson, who walked away with a no-decision despite twirling his fourth quality start in six chances. The right-hander was pulled in favor of Ryan Mordecai after the three-bagger, needing one out to end the inning. Mordecai responded, striking out Rayden Sierra to close the Gibson line at 6.2 innings, two earned runs allowed on seven Schaumburg hits, with four whiffs and a walk.
Tying the score in their next at-bat, it was reigning Frontier League Player of the Week, Ricky Ramirez Jr., who dropped a pinch-hit single to right-center, scoring Reichenborn who walked and was bunted to second as the score reached, 2-2 after seven. Jake Cousins surrendered the knock, but the run was charged to Kines, closing his line at 6.1 innings, four hits leading to two earned runs, with two walks and three strikeouts. Kines would take the no-decision in the quality start.
Six pitchers would appear for both teams combined over the next four innings, each team trading shut-out frames, including the eleventh inning when the International Tie-Breaker rule first took effect.
The Freedom and Boomers will square-off for round two on Wednesday, with right-hander, Frank Valentino (2-2) toeing the slab for Florence opposite, southpaw Connor Reed for Schaumburg. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at UC Health Stadium.
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