The Gateway Grizzlies got an outstanding start on the mound from Carson LaRue (3-3), who struck out a career-high 10 batters to back an effective and powerful offense in an 8-1 victory over the Sussex County Miners on Thursday night at GCS Credit Union Ballpark, bringing an end to a seven-game losing streak.
After a scoreless first inning, Sussex County struck first for the third time in the series when David Maberry hit a solo home run to right-center field to give the Miners an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second. But the Grizzlies quickly responded in the bottom of the frame. With two outs and a pair of men on base against Sussex County starter Vin Mazzaro (3-5), Jackson Pritchard smacked a two-RBI double, and scored on the same play thanks to a throwing error by Miners center fielder Mikey Reynolds as the Grizzlies took their first lead of the series at 3-1.
The Grizzlies then padded the lead in the bottom of the third, as Kevin Krause launched a two-run home run to make it 5-1 Gateway. The power would continue down the stretch as well, as the Grizzlies would hit three more home runs leading off the fourth, seventh, and eighth innings off the bats of Ian Bibiloni, Isaac Benard, and Clint Freeman, the latter of which homered for the third time in his last four games, to build the lead up to the final margin of 8-1.
Meanwhile, LaRue tossed seven innings to get the win, allowing just one run on five hits while setting a new career-best with 10 punchouts, with Nick Kennedy and Freeman retiring all six Miners batters they faced to seal the big victory in Sauget.
The Grizzlies will continue their six-game homestand into the weekend as they welcome the New York Boulders for a three-game series starting Friday night, July 29 at 6:45 p.m. at GCS Credit Union Ballpark, with J.P. Williams making the start on the mound for Gateway.