A third inning solo home run by Keenyn Walker proved to be enough for Windy City starter T.J. Santiago, as the right-hander went seven shutout innings to propel the ThunderBolts to a 2-0 win against Traverse City Friday night.
The Beach Bums (24-44) entered game one of a three game weekend series on an 11-game losing streak. They looked to jump ahead early in the second after their first two batters reached.
However, with one out and runners on first and second base in the frame, Arby Fields hit a ground ball to first base that was fielded by Larry Balkwill. Balkwill, after stepping on first for one out, tried nabbing the trail runner at second, but Kendall Patrick was safe after knocking over the covering Ransom LaLonde. Amidst the confusion, the lead runner Alexis Rivera tried scoring, but LaLonde threw him out at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
In the Bolts (38-30) half of the third, Keenyn Walker smacked a solo home run to deep left-centerfield to put Windy City up 1-0.
The Beach Bums looked to answer in the fourth. Traverse City had men on second and third with one out, but T.J. Santiago (3-3) retired Fields and Josh Hauser to maintain his 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth. LaLonde tripled with one out and Walker reached on an errant throw by the Beach Bums’ third baseman. LaLonde was able to score on the Walker groundball to extend Windy City’s lead to 2-0.
Santiago (3-3) ultimately exited the contest after allowing just five scattered hits, one walk and a career high eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings. Traverse City starter John Havird (4-5) took the tough loss after giving up one earned run over seven innings.
Josh Glick pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Brian Loconsole recorded his league-leading 24th save.
Drake Robison (2-2, 6.14) gets the start in game two against Augie Gallardo (3-7, 5.54) on Saturday night. It is Superhero Night at Standard Bank Stadium and fans in attendance will enjoy a postgame firework show. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and the game broadcast can be heard on WXAV 88.3 FM and wxav.com.