FLORENCE, Ky. — Limited to three singles, the Normal CornBelters dropped a 3-1 decision to Florence on Thursday at UC Health Stadium.
Normal slipped to 47-45 and 1½ games behind Florence for the final Frontier League wild card playoff spot.
The Belters wrap up the regular season in a weekend series against Evansville that begins with a 7:05 p.m. game Friday at the Corn Crib.
Normal took a 1-0 lead in the first when James Davison Jr. singled and scored on an Andrew Godbold ground out.
After that, the Belters could muster only singles from Godbold in the third and Santiago Chirino in the sixth. Both were thrown out stealing.
Florence starter Chuck Weaver (6-4) struck out eight and walked two over eight innings. Johnathan Tripp struck out the side in the ninth for his 15th save.
The Freedom tied the score in the second inning and received RBI hits from Caleb Lopes in the fifth after a John Price Jr. triple and in the seventh following Taylor Bryant's double.
Normal's Miles Moeller, pressed into starting duty late in the season, allowed one run over four innings, striking out three and issuing four walks.
Belters reliever Sean Johnson took the loss.
Four Normal all-stars: Four Belters – first baseman Chris Iriart, second baseman Chirino and outfielders Derrick Loveless and Godbold – were named to the Frontier League's All-Star team.
Iriart entered play Thursday leading the league with 24 home runs. Chirino ranked second in batting (.370) and second in runs scored (67).
Godbold stood tied for the RBI lead at 75. Loveless was fourth in batting (.323), fourth in runs (62) and seventh in RBIs (63).
Chirino was second to Washington outfielder James Harris in Most Valuable Player voting.
Aaron Hill of Lake Erie was Rookie of the Year with Normal pitcher Jack Landwehr second.