Unlike the previous two games in the series, the Crushers found themselves down early when leadoff batter Andrew Heck took the first pitch from Alex Loftin (ND, 1.59) and dropped it over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead.
The score would remain the same until the top of the seventh when with two out, Brian Erie (1-5, R, four baserunners thrown out) ripped a double down the left field line off of reliever Nick Cicio (ND, 3.52). Adrian Ortiz (1-4, R, RBI) then came up and scorched a double to right center field to drive in Erie, but the Crushers were not done. Robby Kuzdale (1-4, RBI) then came up and hit a deep fly ball, which dropped in front of the fenced and bounced off of the turf for a 2-1 lead.
The lead would be short-lived however as the first pitch of the seventh inning from Loftin was hit over the videoboard in right field by Rick Devereaux (1-4, HR, RBI) thus knotting the game at two.
The bullpens would trade zeroes until the top of the tenth when Chandler Barnard (L, 0-2), who had gotten the first two outs of the inning, walked Andrew Davis (0-2, R) and allowed a single to Kellen Kulbacki (3-5). With the runners at first and second, Steve Grife came in to relieve Barnard and allowed a sharply hit ball by JC Figueroa (2-5) into the hole at short where Michael Mooney (0-2) gloved it, but did not have a play available, loading the bases. That brought up Correa who used the least likely part of his body to force in the winning run.
Jonathan Kountis, who had come in to get the final out of the eighth inning, was still out in the tenth and sealed the victory for the Crushers, but not without some hardship. Michael Bando (0-2) worked a walk with one out and Doug Thennis came in to pitch run. With Michael Mooney at the plate and a 1-1 count, Thennis took off for second and the throw by Erie went into centerfield, allowing Thennis to reach third. Kountis struck out Mooney when he chased a fastball out of the zone and got the final out of the game when Robby Kuzdale made a diving catch on a low, looping liner in shallow right center field.
The Crushers got another solid start from Alex Loftin who received the No Decision while going 6+ innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out six and walking one. Starting pitcher for the Wild Things Casey Barnes was even better as he went six innings without allowing a run while striking out six and walking two. Nick Cicio was the loose cog for the Wild Things as he went two thirds of an inning allowing two runs.
Jonathan Kountis (W, 1-1) picked up the win, pitching another stellar performance in 2.1 innings pitched he struck out five while only walking one and allowing one hit. Chandler Barnard (L, 0-3, 6.62), in his first performance for the Wild Things picked up the loss while throwing three full innings, striking out four and walking two, one of them an intentional walk.
The Crushers have a day off before hosting the River City Rascals for a three game set. The probable starters in that series for the Crushers are Paul Fagan, Trevor Longfellow and Josh Rickards.
by Jake Donnelly
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011