GRIZZLIES TAKE OPENER FROM SLAMMERS

Sauget, Ill. - The Gateway Grizzlies returned home to GCS Ballpark on Friday night and captured a 6-2 victory in a series opener against the Joliet Slammers. 

Gateway (41-42) received a solid pitching performance from southpaw Jon Jones, as he tossed 5.1 innings and gave up just one run. Jones (4-2) struck out five batters while he stranded runners in scoring position in the three separate frames.

In the second, Joliet's Carter Bell blasted a solo homer to left as the Slammers (43-38) took a 1-0 edge. The Grizzlies tied things up against Joliet starter Chris Rice when Craig Massoni drove in a run with an RBI single. 

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Rice (3-1) then gave up a towering solo shot to Brandon Thomas in the fifth as Gateway took a 2-1 lead. The Grizzlies would never look back after Thomas' tenth homer of the season.

Jones ran into trouble again in the sixth inning after hitting a batter and allowing a single. Casey Fletcher sacrificed the runners to second and third. RHP Jon Pusateri entered in relief and retired the side to escape the jam.  

Two more Gateway relievers combined to close the game. RHP Ja'Vaun West hurled two scoreless frames and RHP Will LaMarche finished things off in the ninth. 

Seth Heck and Josh Bunselmeyer tacked on insurance runs in the seventh with an RBI single and double to make it 4-1. Gateway then got an RBI single by Logan Davis and an RBI groundout from Cody Livesay in the eighth as they jumped out to a 6-1 lead. 

The Grizzlies and Slammers play the middle game of their series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Saturday on 1400 AM KJFF, 94.3 FM WBGZ, and online at www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio. Sam Levitt and Matt Sabados have the call. 

For tickets, please call (618) 337-3000 or visit www.GatewayGrizzlies.com.