By THE HERALD-WHIG
DANVILLE, Ill. — The Danville Dans found a way to shatter the Joe Mortillaro mystique Friday night at Danville Stadium.
Mortillaro, who hadn't allowed a run in 17 innings pitched entering Friday and was five for five in save chances for the Quincy Gems, entered in the ninth to protect a one-run lead. Danville rallied off Mortillaro, scoring two unearned runs to earn a 5-4 walk-off win and gain a share of first place with Quincy in the Prospect League's West Division.
Quincy (21-11) led 4-3 entering the ninth when the Danville's Andrew Buddle drew a lead-off walk against Mortillaro. Jacob Thomas followed with a single and Josh Miller then reached on an error by Gems shortstop Nick Roscetti. After Mortillaro got an out, Corbin Olmstead hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Thomas scored the winning run for the Dans (21-11) after Sam Maus was hit by a pitch with two outs.
Quincy took the lead by scoring two runs in the first. Caleb Howell hit a lead-off single and was driven in when Steven Pallares doubled to right field. Pallares later scored on a fielder's choice by Bryan Niedbalski.
Pallares' single and stolen base helped the Gems extend their lead in the third. After advancing to third on a groundout by Niedbalski, Pallares scored on a groundout by Ryan Light. Stuart Levy singled home a run later in the inning.
Danville cut into its deficit with a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
Gems starter Aaron Michel went six innings and Logan Blair and Austin Tribby combined for two innings of scoreless relief to bridge the gap to Mortillaro.
The Gems will play the Hannibal Cavemen on Saturday in a doubleheader at QU-Stadium. Game 1 begins at 5:35 p.m.