The Gateway Grizzlies led 2-0 going to the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday and had shut out the Windy City ThunderBolts for all 26 innings in the weekend series up to that point, but allowed three runs to take a 3-2 defeat in the series finale at Ozinga Field.
Gateway (12-15) was denied its first sweep of 2019 and a season-long four-game winning streak.
Jordan Barrett tossed seven scoreless innings. He allowed only one hit and struck out a career-high 12 batters without a walk but did not factor in the decision. Gateway starting pitchers combined to throw 22 shutout frames — six from Dominic Topoozian, nine from Lucas Lanphere, and seven from Barrett — over the three-game series. Lanphere and Barrett both bounced back from difficult outings in their most recent starts.
Geoff Bramblett needed just four pitches to throw a scoreless eighth inning out of the Grizzlies’ bullpen, but Grant Black (0-2) took only his second blown save of the season in a losing effort. He allowed three ninth-inning runs (only one earned) on two hits, one walk, and a crucial Grizzlies error. Windy City had only one hit over the first eight innings Sunday (and two hits going back to the beginning of Saturday’s game) before a pair of knocks in the ninth.
Gateway was a strike away from extra innings when Dash Winningham lined a walk-off RBI double down the right-field line to win it for the ThunderBolts (13-14).
Windy City had previously committed a back-breaking error of its own in the top of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, two strikes, and two outs, Jamey Smart slapped a ground ball to the left side of the infield that ThunderBolts shortstop Brynn Martinez backhanded before throwing a one-hopper to first base that Winningham mishandled to allow Matt McPhearson and Gunner Buhner to score.
Gateway left 11 runners on base (seven in scoring position) and did not score over the first eight innings.
The Grizzlies had beaten Windy City 3-0 Friday and 5-0 Saturday over the first two games of the series, the first back-to-back shutout wins for the Grizzlies since Aug. 2012 against River City. They were denied three shutouts in a row by one inning. In available Grizzlies history (back to 2010), they have never posted three straight shutouts.
For the second straight day, Gunnar Buhner went 2-for-4 for the Grizzlies’ only multi-hit performance.
Gateway will be off Monday before returning to Sauget to open a six-game homestand Tuesday against the River City Rascals at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.