The Gateway Grizzlies scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning, held off a Washington comeback, and snapped a four-game losing streak with a 9-6 victory over the Washington Wild Things Sunday night at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
After a scoreless top of the first inning from Gateway starter Steven Ridings (3-1), it was the Grizzlies who scored first and in a big way, sending 12 batters to the plate against rookie Washington starter Landen Smith (0-1) and scoring eight runs, all with two outs. Trevor Achenbach, Clint Freeman, and Abdiel Diaz made the score 4-0 with singles in the frame, and Isaac Benard then capped the huge inning with an opposite-field grand slam, putting the Grizzlies up 8-0 and tying the most runs they had scored in an inning this season.
In the top of the fourth, Washington got on the board with a sacrifice fly from Wagner Lagrange to make it an 8-1 ballgame, but the Grizzlies got that run back in the bottom half, also with two outs. Freeman drew a walk and Zach Racusin singled to bring up Diaz, who drove in his third run on a single to give Gateway a 9-1 lead.
The Wild Things got to Ridings in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs, and two more in the seventh to make it a 9-6 ballgame and bring the tying run to the plate. Sam Gardner and John Murphy came in, however, and took care of the rest of the game, combining for three scoreless innings to end the contest, with Murphy picking up his seventh save in the ninth to seal the win. It was the 37th victory of the season for Gateway, tying their win total from all of 2021.
After an off-day on Monday, the Grizzlies hit the road for a critical, three-game series when they visit the Joliet Slammers, whom they trail by 2.5 games in the West Division playoff race. First pitch at Duly Health and Care Field is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, at 6:35 p.m. CT.