FLORENCE, KY--The River City Rascals bounced back from last night's tough loss for a 5-4 victory over the Florence Freedom on Friday night at UC Health Stadium. The Rascals overcame an early 3-0 deficit for the win. The Freedom have now lost seven straight.
The Freedom got out to an early lead with solo shots from Jose Brizuela in the first and third innings, as well as an RBI double from Craig Lepre in the second inning. The Rascals got on the board with two runs in the fourth inning, thanks to an RBI fielder's choice from Gerrion Grim and an RBI single from Zach Lavy. In the fifth, the Fredom extended their lead to 4-2 after Connor Crane's RBI single.
The Rascals scored three runs in a pivotal six inning to take the lead for good. After Mike Jurgella singled, Clint Freeman doubled and Braxton Martinez walked to load the bases, Grim singled to bring in a run, Lavy added a sacrifice fly, and the Rascals scored the go-ahead run when Grim was caught in a rundown between first and second base and Freedom first baseman Craig Lepre air-mailed a throw into second, allowing Paul Kronenfeld to score.
The Freedom got a one-out double in the eighth from Brizuela, his third hit of the night, but after Andre Mercurio singled to right, Rascals right fielder Braxton Martinez threw out Brizuela at the plate, and Rascals catcher gunned down Mercurio at second to complete an unconventional 9-2-6 inning-ending double play.
Rascals starter Scott Grist took the no-decision, allowing four runs in 4.2 innings. The Rascals bullpen was lights out, with Jonny Ortiz (1-0), Tanner Wilt, Joe Iorio and Cody Mincey combining for 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, capped off by Mincey's sixth save of the year.
Freedom starter Steve Hagen (2-1) took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, in six innings.
The Rascals (12-6) look to take the 2-0 series lead on the Freedom (8-10) tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm ET, 5:05 pm CT. Lucas Laster is expected to start for the Rascals.