O'FALLON, MO--The River City Rascals came within one win of clinching a playoff berth with their series-opening victory over the Florence Freedom 8-0 on Friday night. The Rascals scored seven runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Clint Freeman, and Jonny Ortiz (8-2) threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six without issuing a walk.
The Rascals pulled ahead 1-0 lead on Zach Lavy's sacrifice fly in the second inning. They then scored seven in the fourth, all with two outs, in a rally jump started by a single up the middle from Braxton Martinez. After a walk to Lavy, Ransom LaLonde brought in two on a double, and with the bases loaded, Trevor Achenbach got an infield single to make it 4-0, setting up Freeman's slam.
Ortiz exited in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out, and reliever Tanner Wilt retired the next two hitters in order to preserve the shutout and seal the win.
Achenbach finished with three hits on the night, including a double. Freedom designated hitter Jordan Brower had two hits on the game.
Freedom starter Christian DeLeon (7-5) took the loss, allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings.
The Rascals (50-44) look to clinch a playoff spot tomorrow night while the Freedom (49-45) need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm CT from CarShield Field. Dalton Roach will make the start on the mound for the Rascals.