Florence, Ky. - The Gateway Grizzlies lost the series opener on the road against the Florence Freedom on Friday night at UC Health Stadium, 8-4.
The Grizzlies (42-46) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sac fly from Craig Massoni. The Freedom (40-48) struck right back in the bottom half of the frame with Austin Newell's RBI double.
In the third, LHP Jon Jones (4-3) surrendered a three-run homer to Shaun Cooper as Florence grabbed a 4-1 lead. After a rain delay paused the game in the fourth, the Freedom tacked on another tally with Andrew Godbold's RBI single to make it 5-1.
Gateway rallied in the fifth. Seth Heck plated a run with a single while Zach Lavy followed it up with an RBI single of his own. Craig Massoni made it three straight run-scoring singles with one of his own as the Grizzlies got to within a run.
In the sixth, RHP Jon Pusateri gave the runs back to the Freedom. With two outs, Andrew Godbold launched a three-run shot over the left field wall to extend Florence's lead to 8-4.
Florence righty Tony Vocca put together seven strong innings. Vocca (3-2) allowed four runs while giving up six hits. LHP Zach Wendorf finished the game with two scoreless frames.
The Grizzlies and Freedom play the middle game of their series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Corey Kimes (4-4, 3.78 ERA) takes the mound for Gateway against Florence LHP Braulio Torres-Perez (2-0, 3.20 ERA).
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs Saturday on 1400 AM KJFF, 94.3 FM/1570 AM WBGZ, and online at www.GatewayGrizzlies.com/Radio. Sam Levitt has the play-by-play call.