After being swept by Windy City last week, the Normal CornBelters answered back against the ThunderBolts with a 10-2 win at the Corn Crib Tuesday night. Normal knocked out thirteen hits in the win and remains in third place in the Frontier League West Division.
Normal (24-19) jumped on Windy City (24-19) starter Bryant Cotton in the first, taking advantage of two errors and scoring six runs. Frank Martinez singled and stole second, followed by a dropped popup that allowed Daniel Cox to reach first base. Steve Alexander blooped a single to center, scoring Martinez. Asif Shah then doubled to right-center, bringing home Cox and Alexander for a 3-0 lead. The CornBelters kept the runs coming, as Tyler Keeble walked to set up a two-run double from Brad Agustin. A.J. Miller then singled to plate Agustin, scoring the sixth and final run of the inning.
The teams traded runs in the second inning, when Chris Wade singled and reached second on a throwing error, and later scored on an infield single from Chad Cregar. In the bottom half, the CornBelters went up 7-1 with a solo home run from Alexander, his league-leading fourteenth of the season.
Windy City cut the lead to 7-2 in the fourth courtesy of an RBI single from Larry Pempek that scored Wade. Shah picked up his second double of the evening in the fifth, and later scored on a Brad Agustin single, stretching Normal?s lead to 8-2.
Alexander wasn't done for the night, however, as he blasted his fifteenth homer in the sixth, a two-run shot that scored Cox. Both of Alexander's home runs were on the first pitch of his at-bat.
Normal's Jeremy Brewer relieved Pritchett to start the ninth, and was touched up by a two-run homer from Pempek that scored Cregar. After allowing two walks and a single to load the bases, Brewer was pulled in favor of Marshall Schuler with one out. Dale Swinford was forced home from third when a pitch hit Zach Aakhus, making it a 10-5 game. The ThunderBolts added another on an RBI groundout from Shepherd, but Schuler ended the game on the next batter for a 10-6 final score.
Pritchett (W, 5-2) worked eight innings, allowing eight hits and two runs while striking out four. Cotton (L, 3-3) pitched four innings and allowed seven runs, four of which were earned. Alexander finished 3 for 4 with the two home runs and three runs scored. Shah was 2 for 4 with two doubles and a pair of runs scored.
The CornBelters also signed former Illinois State Redbird Tyler McNeely on Tuesday. The outfielder led the 2011 Redbirds in batting average (.344), home runs (12), RBI (48), and on-base percentage (.485).
Normal released starting pitcher Jon Berger and outfielder Colin Moro from the team on Tuesday as well.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Corn Crib. Windy City's Dustin Williams (5-2, 3.98) starts against Brett Lester (4-2, 4.28) of the CornBelters.