QUINCY — If the Normal CornBelters were willing to give away the lead, the Quincy Gems happily obliged by taking it.
Trailing 6-1 going to the bottom of the seventh inning Friday night at QU Stadium, the Gems scored six times over their final three at-bats to rally for a 7-6 victory in Prospect League action to start the second-half of the league season with back-to-back victories.
The Gems have won four games in a row, and at 15-14, are above .500 for the first time since winning the season opener.
Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the Clinton LumberKings featured the Gems erasing a two-run deficit and a three-run eighth-inning outburst in which two errors, three walks and a hit batter fueled the late flurry.
Free bases were there for the taking Friday night, too.
Ryan Hutchinson ignited the rally by leading off with bottom of the seventh with a home run. Bryce Miller followed with a double, and one out later, Gino D’Alessio walked. After a strikeout, Jake Skrine tripled to plate two runs.
Matt Schark’s single drove in Skrine to get the Gems within a run.
In the eighth, Hutchinson walked, Miller was hit by a pitch, and Maag walked to force the CornBelters to go to their bullpen. D’Alessio greeted reliever Jacob Lotz by drawing a run-scoring walk. A strikeout and a double play got Normal out of the inning.
In the ninth, Schark led off by reaching on an error and getting to second base. He went to third on Dane Thomas’ one-out single and scored on Hutchinson’s walk-off single.
Hutchinson finished 3 for 4, while Schark was 3 for 5. Nick Iannantone and Jackson Galloway each had two hits for Quincy.
Alex Wattermann threw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief before Bailey Wendell got the final out with runners at the corners in the top of the ninth to earn the victory.