JOLIET – The Frontier League West-leading Florence Freedom exploded for five runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth Saturday night and held on to beat the Joliet Slammers, 10-7, at Slammers Stadium to even their three-game series at one game each.
Melvin Rodriguez’s RBI single in the bottom of the first innng tied the game, 1-1, but Joliet was in a 9-1 hole entering the bottom of the fifth. That’s when Spencer Navin cracked a three-run home run and Rock Shoulders walked with the bases full after singles by Rodriguez, Danny Zardon and Luis Diaz to make it 9-5.
Rodrirguez doubled in Diaz singled in the seventh before Travis Bolin delivered a two-run single to slice the deficit to 9-7. But the Slammers could get no closer.
Rodriguez had three hits and Ridge Hoopii-Haslam, Zardon and Diaz contributed two each.
Joliet starter Skylar Janisse took the loss, allowing eight hits and six runs, though only two earned, in 32⁄3 innings of work.
Slammers 6, Florence 4: The Slammers opened their homestand Friday night with a 6-4 victory over the Freedom.
The Slammers scored twice in the bottom of the first inning and led the rest of the way.
Hoopii-Haslam led off with a double and scored on Rodriguez’s single. Shoulders then singled to drive home David Gonzalez, who was making his Joliet home debut.
In the bottom of the fourth, Gonzalez singled, Shoulders and Steve Pollakov walked and Hoopii-Haslam drove a two-run single up the middle. It became a four-run inning and a 6-0 lead as Dom Iero and Navin also singled home runs.
Hoopii-Haslam and Gonzalez both had three of the Slammers’ 11 hits, while Shoulders chipped in two.
Tyler House picked up the victory, allowing two runs in five innings. Joe Ortiz threw two shutout innings in relief, Jordan Wellander added one and Confesor Lara pitched a scoreless ninth inning to notch the save.
Gateway 7, Slammers 2: In the final game of the three-game series Thursday night at Gateway, where Joliet dropped two of three, Gonzalez hit his first home run as a member of the Slammers.
He had two hits, as did Hoopii-Haslam and Rodriguez. Shane Bryant took the loss, allowing six runs on 11 hits in 52⁄3 innings.