The Gateway Grizzlies collected just two hits in a loss against the Normal CornBelters on Saturday night at The Corn Crib, as the Grizzlies fell 4-2 in the middle game of a three-game set.
The Grizzlies (21-37) struck first against Normal starter Robert Baroniel (1-1) in the third inning. Rolando Gomez led off with a walk and stole second. Gomez came around to score on Cody Livesay’s fielder’s choice, which made it 1-0. Ben Waldrip picked up his 39th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 advantage.
Gateway sent LHP Dillon Haviland (0-1) to the mound for his professional debut. The rookie from Duke University danced out of trouble in the first two innings, but couldn’t do the same in the third. With two outs and two runners on, CornBelters’ first baseman Aaron Dudley smacked a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence. Dudley’s third homer of the year gave Normal a 3-2 lead.
The score remained 3-2 through the middle innings as LHP Jason Ziegler also made his professional debut in relief of Haviland. Ziegler tossed a pair of scoreless innings while allowing just two hits.
In the seventh, Cameron Monger drilled a solo homer to left field against Grizzlies’ reliever Jordan Spencer. Monger’s ninth blast of the season extended Normal’s lead to 4-2.
After Baroniel exited the game, the CornBelters (34-25) turned to three relievers who would combine to shut out the Grizzlies’ offense. RHP Horatio Acosta tossed two scoreless frames while RHP Cole Brocker struck out the side in the eighth. RHP Race Parmenter retired the Grizzlies in order during the ninth inning for his 12th save of the season.
The Grizzlies and CornBelters play the rubber game of their series on Sunday afternoon at The Corn Crib. The Grizzlies send RHP Trevor Richards (2-4, 3.61 ERA) to the mound against CornBelters RHP Kevin Johnson (4-2, 3.43 ERA). First pitch is at 3:05 p.m.
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt will call the action.