The Gateway Grizzlies scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, and five runs in their first two turns at bat on Friday night at Grizzlies Ballpark, leading the whole way in a 13-5 victory over the Joliet Slammers, the team’s third consecutive win.
It was Peter Zimmermann that got the scoring started with a towering, three-run home run in the bottom of the first off Joliet starter Turner Larkins (1-2), putting the home team ahead 3-0. In the second inning, after the Slammers got one run back to make it 3-1, back-to-back RBI hits by Mark Vierling and Gabe Holt expanded the lead to 5-1.
Both teams settled in from there, with Larkins lasting six innings for the Slammers while Nate Garkow (2-1) tossed a pair of shutout frames for Gateway, striking out five and walking none. Joliet would creep closer on an RBI single by Will Salas in the fifth inning off Zac Treece, then a solo home run from G.J. Hill in the seventh off Alec Whaley to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
But after Larkins departed, the Grizzlies pounded the Slammers’ bullpen in the seventh to the tune of six runs, including RBI hits by Holt, Zimmermann, and Clint Freeman, to expand the lead again out to 11-3. Both teams then scored a pair of runs in the eighth to complete the scoring, with the Grizzlies doing so on a two-run homer by Eric Rivera, his first dinger of the season.
It was the second game in a row that Gateway had 14 hits as a team, with Holt and D.J. Stewart both collecting three-hit days at the plate, joined in the multi-hit club by Rivera, Vierling, and Zimmermann. Each of the top four batters in the Grizzlies’ lineup also scored multiple runs and drove in multiple runs in the team-wide effort to claim the series opener.
The Grizzlies will look to make it four wins in a row and another series victory when they face the Slammers on Saturday, May 27, at 6:45 p.m. Joey Gonzalez will start on the mound for Gateway against Joliet left-hander Tyler Jay.
Jason Guerette is the Grizzlies' Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations and the "Voice of the Grizzlies." 2023 will be his second season with the organization, handling lead broadcasting duties on the Grizzlies Media Network as well as being in charge of all team press releases and game-day media materials.
2023 will also be Jason's ninth season in the Frontier League after spending 2014-21 in the same role with the Southern Illinois Miners. Overall, he has broadcasted close to 800 games in the league, including playoffs. During the baseball offseason, he serves as a play-by-play broadcaster for Manhattan College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with games being seen on ESPN+ among other platforms.
In addition to broadcasting, Jason works as a public address announcer for Seton Hall University women's basketball as well as Columbia University men's and women's basketball. He also spent nine years working "behind the scenes" as a freelance board operator and highlight editor at Westwood One for their coverage of the NFL, NCAA football, and NCAA basketball.
Jason graduated from Seton Hall in 2012 with B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Broadcasting & Visual Media.