The East Division champion Schaumburg Boomers, scored 16 unanswered runs, including eight unearned, roll to a 16-2 win over the Florence Freedom in the first game of the 2017 Frontier League Championship Series.
Florence grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the second against Schaumburg starter Lars Liguori. With runners at second and third following a double steal, Jordan Brower doubled to the wall in right, opening the scoring. Liguori went on to throw the second consecutive complete game by a starter in the playoffs, allowing just the two first innings tallies.
Schaumburg scored four unearned runs in the third and did not look back. David Harris tied the game with a two-run bases loaded single to the gap in left. Zack Weigel followed by driving home a run with an infield hit and Josh Gardiner logged an RBI double.
The Boomers scored at least two runs in five different innings, adding two in the fourth on a squeeze from Opie Brodbeck and a sacrifice fly from Kyle Ruchim. Harris hit his second homer of the season leading off the fifth and an errant throw to second allowed Gardiner to score, stretching the lead to 8-2. Florence loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth but did not score after a double play.
Brodbeck tripled to begin the sixth and scored on a dropped fly ball off the bat of Ruchim, who was credited with a sacrifice fly. Harris drove home his fourth run with a single and Sean Godfrey extended the lead to 11-2 with a two-out single to plate Harris. The Boomers capped the night with five runs in the eighth. With two outs, James Keller singled home a run. Ruchim and John Holland notched two-run singles to finish the outburst.
Schaumburg won a fifth straight home playoff contest dating to 2014 and finished with the most runs and largest margin of victory in a playoff game in league history. Harris finished with three hits and four RBIs. Ruchim also knocked home four. Godfrey also added three hits. Every member of the lineup reached base with eight scoring runs. Schaumburg finished with 14 hits.
Liguori won his fourth straight start and his second in the playoffs, finishing with 117 pitches. The lefty struck out seven while walking one and surrendering eight hits. Joe Hauser tossed a complete game in the clinching game against Evansville on Saturday.
The Boomers (66-30, 4-1), who finished the season with the best record in the league, setting a franchise record for wins, will aim for a commanding 2-0 lead in the Frontier League Championship Series at home on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. RHP Kagen Hopkins (9-5, 4.19) takes the ball for the Schaumburg against RHP Jordan Kraus (10-5, 3.28)