08/10/2018 9:34 AM -
NORMAL, Ill. (August 9, 2018) – The first place Normal CornBelters (40-32) continued their season-high win streak of seven and second straight sweep in an 8-4 victory over the Gateway Grizzlies (33-44) on Thursday night.
"It's (win streak) been a lot of fun and guys are having fun. We have been playing the game fundamentally right," said Manager Billy Horn. "We took advantage of some mistakes that their guy (MacNabb) made. Their (Gateway) guy that pitched tonight is a good pitcher, he's really good. Got a lot of good stuff, but we took advantage especially with two outs. Our hitting is the cornerstone of our club."
Normal didn’t waste any time to jump out to an early lead as they combined to hit for the cycle in the first. Derrick Loveless roped a standup triple to bring in Santiago Chirino who doubled and Andrew Godbold then hit a sacrifice fly to give Normal a 2-0 lead. The final two parts of the cycle were a Nick Cain single, followed by Justin Fletcher’s first home run of the year that made it 4-0. This is the fifth straight game that Belters have scored in the first.
In the fifth, James Davison Jr leadoff with single and then came all the round to score on a double by Chirino to go up 5-2. The former Hurricane has now hit safely in 21 out of his 23 games. Two pitches later Loveless made it 6-2 on his second RBI and hit of the game.
Coming off a complete game on the road at Traverse City, Jack Landwehr (7-3) limited Gateway to just two runs to earn his third victory in a row. The Illinois State product battled out of trouble multiple times to earn his seventh victory, which leads all starters. In his last three starts, Landwehr has only allowed four earned runs.
"Jack didn't have his best stuff tonight and that's going to happen, but he had mental toughness tonight and he really battled. He gave us six solid innings, quality start."
Anthony Herrera came on to pitch the seventh and Gateway strung a couple hits together to make it a 6-4 game. The CornBelters took advantage of an error by the Grizzlies third baseman in the seventh that eventually lead to Nick Cain scoring on a past ball to increase the Belters advantage to 7-4.
Normal added another run in the eighth. Davison Jr. reached on an infield single for his third hit of the game. He now has five three-hit games and 13 multi-hit games this season while batting .400. Chirino then singled for his career 1000th hit in baseball. Davison Jr made it 8-4 on a Gateway error.
"What can you say, Davison Jr three hits, Chirino three hits, Lovely (Loveless) two. Cain coming in and getting two hits today. Fletch (Fletcher) a couple RBI. Up and down the lineup our guys are just performing."
Jonathan de Marte bailed out southpaw Evan Smith who left the eighth with bases loaded and two outs. The former Richmond Spider completed the ninth to earn his fourth save and second series sweep of Gateway at home this season and finish the season 9-3 against them.
"We got the game on the line and we go to our guy, de Marte. Time in, time in again what can you say. He's been lights out. He is just solid, he will take the ball and never complain."
With the win tonight, Normal earns their second straight sweep in a row, their third one at home this season, and fifth overall in the 2018 campaign. The CornBelters host the River City Rascals starting tomorrow for a three-game series to conclude the six-game homestand.
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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 independent league. For more information about the Frontier League visit frontierleague.com.