The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, received a stellar performance from starter Brett Lester in a 4-0 win Monday night at the Corn Crib. Lester (4-0) allowed just 5 hits and 5 walks in the complete game performance. The shutout is Normal's second in 4 games after Ryan Sheldon did the same against Evansville on Friday. Gateway starter B.J. Dail (1-3) pitched five innings and recorded the loss.
Asif Shah followed up Sunday's four-hit effort with a leadoff double in the second inning, and eventually scored thanks to a RBI groundout from Tyler Keeble. Daniel Cox lined a single to left field in the third, extending his hit streak to 20 games, halfway to the Frontier League record of 40.
Both starters cruised along until the Belters got to Dail again in the fifth. After Mike Mobbs was hit by a pitch and stole second base, Frank Martinez beat out an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out. Cox then drove the ball to center for a sacrifice fly to put Normal up 2-0.
Dail was pulled with nobody out in the sixth after a line drive appeared to strike his pitching hand. Corey Davisson came on in relief and pitched the final three innings for the Grizzlies. Colin Moro provided some insurance off of Davisson with his fourth home run of the year, a two-run blast that scored Shah in the sixth.
Normal's infield held strong all night, as the team turned double plays in the second, fourth, sixth, and seventh innings to help keep the Grizzlies off the board. Lester threw 109 pitches in a game that was completed in just under two hours.
With the win, Normal improves to 18-11 on the season and drops Gateway to 13-15.
The series finale is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Corn Crib. Jon Berger (3-1, 6. 83) takes the hill for Normal against Gateway's Mark Brackman (4-1, 2.36).
article courtesy Normal Cornbelters