08/10/2006 11:54 PM - JOLIET, Ill. - The Joliet JackHammers (29-44, 13-12) got an eighth-inning RBI single from Seth Pietsch to score the go-ahead run and take a 2-1 decision from the Kansas City T-Bones (36-39, 14-13) in the two clubs' series finale Thursday evening at Silver Cross Field.
After an hour delay to the start of the contest due to rain and stadium electrical issues, T-Bones got the ball rolling in the top of the first inning on Craig Hurba's 16th home run of the season- a solo shot off Joliet starter David Manning- to take a 1-0 lead.
The JackHammers evened the score in the fourth on Blake Gill's RBI double that landed just beyond a diving Zach Norman in left field. Gill's hit allowed Maikel Jova, who walked with one out and advanced to second on Chad Ehrnsberger's infield single, to come home with the first of his two runs on the night.
Both starters enjoyed quality outings, with Manning allowing just the lone first-inning run in his five innings of work, and Kansas City's Hank Woodman working into the eighth inning.
But the JackHammers got the big hit when they needed it most. After Jova led-off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and advanced to second on Ehrnsberger's sacrifice-bunt, Pietsch laced a base-hit to right field off Woodman to give Joliet the 2-1 advantage, which would prove to be just enough.
While both starters flourished, the JackHammers received even better results when they called on their bullpen. Rookie righthander Tommy Boss (1-1) worked a career-best three innings in relief of Manning to pick up his first professional victory, and Amad Stephens closed out the victory with a perfect ninth inning to earn his league-leading 17th save of the season. In all, the tandem retired the final 10 Kansas City batters of the game in order to seal the win and help Joliet climb back into a virtual tie with the T-Bones for first place in the East Division pennant chase.
Woodman (3-3) was tagged with the loss despite giving up just two runs on nine hits in his 7 1/3 innings. Buddy Blair turned in another solid effort out of the bullpen, retiring the only two batters he faced to close out the eighth inning.
Hurba led the Kansas City offense, going 2-for-4 on the night, while Ehrnsberger also enjoyed a two-hit game to pace Joliet in his first action since being activated from the disabled list.
The T-Bones return to CommunityAmerica Ballpark Friday evening to take on the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the first of a three-game series. RHP Greg Bicknell (6-10, 3.72) will oppose LHP Glen Bott (6-4, 3.06) in the opener with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Greg Jacobs (1-for-4) extended his hit streak to nine games and his on-base streak to 23 games with a third-inning single Thursday...Manager "Dirty" Al Gallagher comes home still needing two wins to reach the 1000-victory plateau for his managerial career.