The Florence Y’alls gave themselves a chance in all three games, but couldn’t find the timely hitting enough as they were swept by the Joilet Slammers.
The Y’alls (34-50) were swept for the seventh time this season. The sweep eliminates them from playoff contention, 12.5 games out of third place Evansville with 12 games to play.
The pitching improved from the previous series, but they scored eight runs in three games.
“We got to use everyone in the series,” said Chad Rhoades, Florence Manager. “I thought (Sunday) we were a little flat. It’s just the intensity and the drive to play every single day. I didn’t see a lot of that. I thought we let some external factors play into the focus than we should have rather than focusing on the task at hand, doing our business and doing a job.”
Joliet (40-44) won the Friday game, 5-2. The Slammers led 3-0 after three innings before Florence scored twice in the top of the fourth. The Slammers added a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to make the final score.
Florence outhit Joliet, 8-6 in the error-free game. Shortstop Ed Johnson and left fielder Lane Hoover had two hits each to lead the Y’alls and catcher Nick Wimmers added a double.
Edgar Martinez (7-8) took the loss, pitching five innings, striking out five and walking three. Aaron Rund pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four and not issuing a walk.
Florence rallied from down 5-2 to tie the game at six in the top of the ninth Saturday. But after failing to score in the top of the 10th leaving runners on first and third, Joliet won it in the bottom of the inning.
Joliet outhit Florence, 12-10. First baseman Brennan Price went 3-for-5 with two doubles and scored once to lead the Y’alls. Johnson added two hits with Hank Zeisler and Jeremiah Burks adding doubles. Right fielder Harrison DiNicola drove in two and Zeisler scored twice.
“I just show (the younger players) that every game is important,” Price said. “They’re grinding out at-bats. We’re at this point in the season where we’re out of the playoffs obviously. It’s nice they’re getting the work in.”
Jake McMahill pitched six innings, striking out three. Christian Cosby pitched two innings in relief before Nick Ernst pitched the ninth and Brian McKenna (2-3) took the loss pitching the 10th.
Florence could not avoid the sweep Sunday, losing 2-0 even though starting pitcher Carter Spivey (2-1) retired the first 19 batters he faced. Spivey pitched into the eighth inning. But the Slammers scratched across two unearned runs in the eighth to win the game.
Kent Klyman came on in the eighth inning to strike out the only batter he faced. The Y’alls then put two runners on base with two out in the top of the ninth, but Joliet closer Tyler Jay struck out Burks for his seventh save this season.
“I spoke with (pitching coach) Karl Craigie and he said I’d come in the ninth if it was still scoreless,” Klyman said. “They needed me then. I came in and minimized the damage. Carter did his job.”
Both teams had four hits. No one on either side had more than one hit. Cameron Aufderheide struck out five and walked one in seven innings for the Slammers.
“I thought we let him off the hook with a couple early-count swings rather than forcing him to land that off-speed,” Rhoades said. “We chased some early fouling off his fastballs. It kind of let him sit there, throw off-speed and force our hands. I’ll give that credit to the pitcher for throwing the scoreless innings. But I don’t think we saw the balls with the same kind of approaches that we needed in and out.”
Florence plays host to Lake Erie (33-51) starting Tuesday at 6:32 p.m.