Outstanding pitching and home runs lead Slammers to two straight wins…
(Normal, IL) – Jacob Sanchez (5-2) and Tommy Mendoza (5-7) tossed complete games and Kyle Maunus drove in a total of six runs as the Joliet Slammers (37-58) swept the Normal CornBelters (29-67) in a double header to finish the 2012 regular season on Sunday.
The Slammers won game one 7-1 and game two 7-0.
In game one Joliet jumped on the board with three runs in the fourth inning. Abel Nieves started the inning with a walk. Two outs later Josh Lyon walked as well. David Christensen singled sharply down the left field line to drive in Nieves and Andrew Brauer doubled home Lyon and Christensen.
Normal got their only run of the twin bill in the fifth inning of game one on a Pat McKenna home run.
But Joliet responded in the sixth. Erik Lis got things rolling with a single. Then Maunus stepped to the plate and launched a home run to right field to put Joliet up 5-1. Lyon drew another walk and it was Christensen’s turn to go yard as the Slammers extended the lead to 7-1.
That’s all the run support Sanchez needed as he went the distance of seven innings, scattering eight hits and giving up the lone run. He walked one and struck out four to earn the victory.
In game two the Slammers wasted no time taking the lead. In the first inning Brad Netzel was hit by a pitch to start the game. One out later Nieves drew a walk. A grounder moved both runners over and with two away Maunus singled them in to put Joliet up 2-0. In the fourth inning Maunus continued his offensive barrage as he smashed a solo home run, his 12th of the season.
They would tack on another run in the fifth when Andrew Brauer drove in William Hill with a ground-out.
The 4-0 lead turned into a 7-0 lead in the seventh. Netzel was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Brauer reached on a fielder’s choice and Nieves drew another walk. With two away Maunus singled in a run for his sixth RBI of the double header. It was his 45th RBI of the year, matching Erik Lis for the most on the team. Christensen drove in a run with a single and Maunus scored the seventh run of the game on a wild pitch.
Game two was all about Mendoza on the mound. The former fifth round draft pick went the distance, giving up only four hits and no runs. He walked three and struck out four in the victory.
Joliet finishes the 2012 season in sixth place in the west division at 37-58. Abel Nieves finished second in the Frontier League with a .320 batting average. Joliet had four players signed to affiliated ball (Gaby Hernandez, Daniel Carela, Amalio Diaz and Geoff Brown) on the year compared to three (Aaron Dott, Ryan Quigley and Chris Pack) in their championship season of 2011.