O'FALLON, Mo. -- The River City Rascals dropped both ends of their doubleheader against the Florence Freedom on Thursday night at CarShield Field, losing both games by a score of 5-2. The twin-bill sweep gave the Freedom the series victory, and marked the first time the Rascals have lost a home series this season.
In Game 1, Connor Crane put the Freedom on the board first with an RBI single in the second. The Rascals quickly responded, however, with a solo shot from Zach Lavy to lead-off the third. The score would remain 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth, when Artemis Kadkhodaian put the Rascals in front with an RBI single. In the top of the seventh, however, the Freedom tied the game on an RBI single from Austin Wobrock.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh, the Rascals had a chance for the win before Karl Craigie struck out the next three hitters in order, sending the game to the eighth. The Freedom scored three in the frame, on an RBI single from Andre Mercurio and a two-run double from Ricky Ramirez Jr., putting the score at 5-2. Johnathon Tripp retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame for his sixth save of the season.
Alex Winkelman allowed just one run on four hits in six innings for the Rascals in a no-decision, and reliever Anthony Herrera (0-1) took the loss. Freedom starter Daniel Williams also took a no-decision, allowing two runs on just three hits in six innings of work. Craigie (3-1) earned the win.
In Game 2, the Freedom struck for two runs in the second, on an RBI triple from Brandon Pugh and an RBI double from Crane. The Rascals tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth, getting RBI singles from both Tanner Murphy and Trevor Achenbach. However, the Freedom struck for three in the sixth to immediately regain the lead. Tyler Reichenborn scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a lead-off triple, and Ramirez put the game on ice with a pinch-hit, two-run double later in the frame. Brian McKenna retired the final six Rascals hitters in order, four on strikeouts, to earn his third save.
Rascals starter Taylor Ahearn, in his team debut, allowed just two runs on three hits in five solid innings. He walked one, struck out seven, and retired the final 10 hitters he faced. Andrew Vernon (0-1) took the loss out of the Rascals bullpen.
Freedom starter Zak Spivy, in his first professional debut, went 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision, allowing two runs on three hits. Reliever Ryan Mordecai (3-1) earned the win.
The Rascals (18-17) hit the road for a three-game weekend set in Joliet, Ill., beginning tomorrow night. First pitch for the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m. CDT from DuPage Medical Group Field. Michael McCraith is expected to take the mound for the Rascals.