JOLIET, Ill. — Gunnar Buhner lined an RBI single into left-center field to give the Gateway Grizzlies the lead in the 11th inning and Geoff Bramblett struck out all three Joliet Slammers he faced to lock down the save in a 3-2 Grizzlies win Friday night at DuPage Medical Group Field.
Gateway (24-33) improved to 5-6 in extra frames this season with its third straight extra-inning victory.
Buhner had a pair of RBI singles, both of which gave the Grizzlies leads. They pulled ahead 2-1 in the fifth inning, only to immediately relinquish their advantage in the sixth, before Buhner supplied the final blow in the top of the 11th.
Under international tie-breaker rules, the Slammers (22-36) began the bottom of the 11th with the potential tying run at second base. Their 2-3-4 hitters were due up, but Geoff Bramblett struck them out in order for his fourth save in as many chances this year. He needed only 11 pitches for the three punchouts.
Bramblett has faced 16 batters in July and retired all of them — 10 with strikeouts.
Joliet scored first with a run in the second inning. Gateway answered in the fourth when Brent Sakurai doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Zak Taylor's two-out two-bagger. Taylor has driven in seven runs over his last 10 games.
Reign Letkeman tossed 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs. He matched his single-game career high with seven strikeouts but did not factor in the decision.
Gateway's bullpen — Jason Seever, Lucas Lanphere, Grant Black, Thomas Nicoll, and Bramblett — combined to fire 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allow only four hits. As a pitching staff, the Grizzlies struck out 17 Slammers and walked only one Friday.
Gateway and Joliet will continue their three-game series Saturday with a 6:05 p.m. CDT first pitch. Dominic Topoozian (4-4, 3.44) is scheduled to start for the Grizzlies.
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.