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CornBelters Fall In Pitchers Duel

A solo home run in the sixth inning was the only tally, as the Normal CornBelters fell in a pitchers' duel on Tuesday night in Florence, Kentucky, 1-0 to the host Florence Freedom.

The Belters threatened in the third, but two singles from Tyler Keeble and Andrew Barbaro to lead off the inning plus a two-out walk to Frank Martinez to load the bases were stranded after a strikeout and two foul-outs.

CornBelters starter Ryan Sheldon pitched three innings of no-hit ball, and didn't surrender a baserunner until he walked Jonathan Smith with one out in the third inning, but Smith was caught stealing followed by a fly ball out to end the frame with Florence continuing to send only the minimum number of hitters to the plate against Sheldon.  The first baserunner and first hit for the Freedom was Juan Valdes, who led off the fourth with single to left.  Jarred Frierson and Chris Curley followed with singles to load the bases.  A ground ball by Drew Rundle was sent home to retire Curley, and Sheldon was able to coax fly outs from Justin Holloway and Jonathan Cisneros to escape the threat and leave the bases loaded..

The Freedom finally broke through on the scoreboard in the sixth inning, when Chris Curley hit his 11th home run of the season, a solo drive to left, his 12th long ball of the season.

The CornBelters scratched just six hits and stranded nine runners on base.  Andy Clark improved to 8-2 with his seven-inning start, and Corey Martin set the CornBelters down in order in the ninth for his tenth save.  Ryan Sheldon went the distance for the CornBelters and falls to 6-5, giving up four Freedom hits while walking two and striking out six.

The CornBelters continue on to the second half of the six-game road trip in Marion, Illinois to face the second-place Southern Illinois Miners.  Tyler Lavigne (3-7, 3.40) is the expected starting pitcher for third-place Normal, while the Miners plan to counter with Ryan Zink (3-4, 5.01) in a matchup of right-handers.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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