Freedom Drop Playoff Opener

SAUGET, IL-The Gateway Grizzlies got excellent starting pitching and some clutch hits Wednesday night as they went on to defeat the Florence Freedom 5-2 at GCS Ballpark.

The Grizzlies now lead the best of five series 1-0 with the series continuing Thursday.

The Grizzlies scored three runs in the second inning against Freedom starter Brandon Mathes(0-1).  Rogelio Norris led off the inning with a walk and later scored on a throwing error by third baseman Stephen Cardullo to take a 1-0 lead.  John Shelby then homered to left to give them a 2-0 lead.  Jonathon Johnson also provided an RBI double in the inning for a 3-0 lead.

Norris hit a two run homer in the fifth extending the lead to 5-0.

Florence attempted to make a comeback against Grizzly starter Tim Brown(1-0).  Junior Arrojo had an RBI triple and Peter Fatse came through with a sacrifice fly in the   sixth to cut the lead to 5-2.

Brown went eight innings allowing seven hits while striking out six.

In the ninth, Fatse and Eddie Rodriguez led off with back to back singles against Gateway closer Richard Barrett.  With nobody out and two on base, Barrett buckled down to retire three straight hitters and collected the save.

Mathes went five innings allowing eight hits on five runs, four earned, with three walks and four strikeouts.