FLORENCE, Ky. — The Gateway Grizzlies took a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning Sunday night, but they allowed two Florence Freedom runs in both the seventh and eighth innings in a 5-3 defeat at UC Health Stadium.
Gateway (15-23) has led by at least two runs in each of its last three games against Florence (25-12) but lost all three.
Chris Carden worked six-plus innings and allowed three runs (only one earned) on four hits and struck out three. Grizzlies starting pitchers have delivered quality starts in six of their last seven games, but the Grizzlies are 1-5 in those quality starts. Gateway is 7-10 with a quality start this season after a 26-12 record under the same circumstance in 2018.
After the Grizzlies allowed an unearned run in the first inning and trailed 1-0 going to the top of the sixth, rookie infielder Tyler Plantier hit his first professional home run — a two-out, three-run shot down the left-field line. Plantier is 6-for-12 with the aforementioned homer and five RBIs across his first three professional games.
Zak Taylor added a single; he has hit in each of his first five professional games. Matt Brown extended his hitting streak to five games — his first five with the Grizzlies — and Brent Sakurai went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base in his team-best 13th multi-hit game of the season.
Florence scored twice (one earned) in the seventh inning to tie the game.
Grant Black (0-4) took his second loss of the series when Caleb Lopes launched a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Freedom a 5-3 advantage they held the rest of the evening.
Florence won its fifth straight game and extended its West Division lead to three games; the Grizzlies have lost eight of their last nine.
Gateway is 0-6 against Florence this year and 5-25 against the Freedom since the start of 2017.
The series finale is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. CDT Monday.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.