07/07/2018 10:50 PM -
NORMAL, Ill. (July 7, 2018) – The Normal CornBelters (21-26) had plenty of chances to score, as they put runners on base in every inning except one, but grounded out in five double plays and stranded nine runners in a 6-2 loss to the Schaumburg Boomers (26-23) on Saturday night.
"Offensively we just didn't execute. We grounded into five double plays, left nine guys on base. Usually, when you do that it's going to be tough for you to win a ballgame, “ said Manager Billy Horn. "Kirby had a great night for us. Seven innings, no walks. 94 pitches and 67 strikes so very effective, just three earned runs. He gave us a chance to win"
After Zach Kirby (0-1) beat the CornBelters as a member of the Florence Freedom last Sunday, Normal then traded for the right-hander the next day and was dealt with a tough loss in his debut. He surrendered a first-inning home run then settled down and shut out the Boomers for three straight innings. Schaumburg then added another run off an error from Tony Holton in the fifth. Kirby tied a career high in innings (7) and was tagged for two more runs in the seventh. The former Framingham State walk-on picked up two strikeouts and didn’t allow any walks in his sixth start on the season.
"It felt good to get my first start with a new team. I was confident going into the game. Didn't go the way we wanted, but we battled," said Kirby after his Belter debut.
The CornBelters final got on the board in the fifth. Tony Holton placed one of two bunts he had tonight for hits, perfectly down the third base line that allowed him to reach second to leadoff, and then moved to third on a fly out. The new hit king and the starting shortstop in the All-Star game; Santiago Chirino went the other way to bring in the first Belter run of the game.
Schaumburg went on to add two more runs in the eighth off Nick Bozman who left with the bases loaded. Thomas Nicoll was the second arm that made his CornBelter debut tonight and it was to remember. He struck out the first two batters he faced to end the bases-loaded threat and then threw a perfect ninth picking up his third strikeout to keep Normal in the game.
"Also good to see Nicoll come in and in his first pro outing he threw the ball pretty well. Three strikeouts, inning and a third and got out of a big situation that kept us in the game and obviously gave us a chance to win."
Nicoll didn’t the let the pressure to get him in his Normal debut. "It (debut) felt great, just went up there like it was any other ball game. Couldn't be too amped up, just go out there and get outs."
In the ninth, it looked the Belters were going to rally as started off with three singles in a row to load the bases with no outs. However, they continued the common theme and bounced into a double play and only managed to bring in one run across.
"Good news is we got a chance to win the series tomorrow. We got our horse tomorrow with Landwehr on the hill. We are expecting big things out of him. Hopefully, he can come out and shut them down, and I know the bats will show up tomorrow. A good chance to win the series and end the first half on a positive note. "
Red hot Jack Landwehr will have the ball for CornBelters as they conclude their first part of the season with the rubber match tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.
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ABOUT THE CORNBELTERS
The Normal CornBelters are a professional baseball team of the Frontier League located in Normal, Illinois, which is part of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area. They play their home games at The Corn Crib. Tickets and Sponsorships are available for the 2018 season. For more information visit normalbaseball.com or call 309-454-2255. You can also follow the team on Facebook.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE
The Frontier League, based in Sauget, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States consisting of 12 franchises in two divisions playing a 96-game regular season schedule. The league was formed in 1993 and is the oldest currently running