O'FALLON, Mo. -- The River City Rascals defeated the Florence Freedom 8-4 in their series opener on Friday night at CarShield Field. Braxton Martinez led the charge with a home run and five total RBIs in the victory.
Martinez got the scoring started with a two-run shot in the top of the first, followed immediately by a home run from Trevor Achenbach. Martinez made it 4-0 Rascals with an RBI single in the second. The Freedom slowly chipped away, getting a two-run blast from Taylor Bryant in the top of the third, while Austin Wobrock and Caleb Lopes provided solo shots in the seventh and eight innings, respectively, to tie the game 4-4.
LJ Kalawaia put the Rascals back on the top with a go-ahead, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth, which was followed by a two-run single from Martinez to make it 8-4.
Rascals starter Brendan Feldmann took a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings with five strikeouts. Reliever Andrew Vernon (3-1) earned the win. Freedom starter Mike Castellani allowed four runs over seven innings, while Ryan Mordecai (3-2) took the loss.
The Rascals (43-34) and Freedom (48-30) play the middle game of their series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT from CarShield Field. Alex Winkelman is expected to take the mound for the Rascals.