Slammers fall to ThunderBolts
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2012 10:46PM
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:22AM
A Windy City ThunderBolts squad that’s last in the Frontier League in home runs did get a rare long ball Thursday night from Brandon Decker.
For the most part, though, the T-Bolts won the way they usually do, using heavy doses of small ball and strong pitching to top the Joliet Slammers 5-3 at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, salvaging a split in the two-game series.
Windy City starter Stephen Sauer (2-0) struck out 10 in eight innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks.
Sauer was aided by two highlight-reel catches from Jareck West in center field.
“I felt good the first couple innings, then I lost it a bit and I was able to get it back late,” Sauer said. “My defense helped me get through those middle innings with some great plays.”
Sauer prevented Joliet (10-8) from mounting any big rallies by retiring the first two batters in all eight innings he worked. Joliet had six hits, all with two outs.
Tyson Corley worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
The T-Bolts (11-5) quickly jumped on top in the first inning when Chris Wade singled, stole second, took third on an error and scored on Mike Torres’ groundout.
Joliet starter Jeremy Tietze opened the door in the second inning with a hit batter and a walk, and Windy City took advantage as Travis Weaver’s double scored Billy Nowlin and Wade’s groundout brought home West to make it 3-0.
Joliet got back in it with one swing in the fourth. Zach Mandelblatt blasted his fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot to right field.
Sauer allowed just one hit over the next four innings.
The T-Bolts added a run in the sixth, Wade’s fielder’s choice driving in Nowlin (2-for-3), who had singled.
Decker’s solo shot in the seventh made it 5-2 before Joliet scored on an RBI single from Richards High School product Erik Lis in the eighth.
Tietze (0-2) allowed four earned runs on seven hits.
“Sauer kept us off balance and got the outs when he needed,” Joliet manager Bart Zeller said. “We couldn’t get two-out hits and that was the game. You’ve got to tip your cap to (Sauer).”