CornBelters split with Rascals
The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, dropped the first game of a double header 6-3 but recovered to win the nightcap by a score of 1-0 over the River City Rascals Sunday evening at the Corn Crib.
A Jeremy Synan sacrifice fly in the top of the 1st inning brought home Eric Williams to get the Rascals on the board early in game one.
Normal answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame as first baseman Ernie Banks Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single to center allowing center fielder Ty Wiesemeyer to score from second and knotting the game up at one run apiece.
The ‘Belters took their first lead of the game in the 2nd when designated hitter Bubby Williams came across on an RBI single by Wiesemeyer. Normal added another tally in the 5th as shortstop Jason Thompson scored on an RBI groundout by left fielder Sam Judah, pushing the ‘Belter advantage to 3-1.
The Rascals rallied back in the top of the 6th getting five runs in the frame. The big blow of the inning came on a Jason Patton grand slam over the wall in right, giving River City a 6-3 lead.
Normal couldn’t muster a comeback in the final two innings as Doug Shields (3-0) picked up the victory for the Rascals, while Kyle DiMartino (1-1) registered the loss for Normal. Rascal closer Brandon Cunniff collected his fifth save of the season. The loss came despite a strong performance from ‘Belter starting pitcher Tyler Stovall. Stovall struck out twelve while walking six and surrendering just two hits over his 5.1 innings of work.
In game two it was the CornBelters who drew first blood when Wiesemeyer scored on an RBI single by Banks, extending his hit streak to ten games, and giving Normal an early 1-0 advantage after one inning of play.
‘Belter starting pitcher Brendon Smith (2-3) shut out the Rascal offense over his six innings of work before Rich Mascheri closed out the win with a scoreless 1-2-3 7th inning for his ninth save of the season. River City starter Preston Vancil (4-7) took the loss.
After an off day Monday the ‘Belters hit the road for a three-game set with the Southern Illinois Miners. Daniel Britt (3-7, 6.31 ERA) will take the hill for Normal to face off against the Miners. Pregame can be heard on WJBC.com beginning at 6:50.