Crushers plead the fifth
Eight run fifth pushes winning streak to four
AVON, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers used a monster fifth frame on Thursday evening to extend their winning streak to four, as they scored eight times in the fifth on nine hits, and defeated River City, 11-6.
The four game winning streak for the Crushers (18-20) matches their longest winning streak of the season, while the loss for the Rascals (22-16) was their 10th on the road this season.
The Rascals left a lot of men on base for the second night in a row, stranding 11 base runners, and had their leadoff man reach in six innings. They scored first in the top of the second inning. The first three batters reached on base hits, before Ben Hewett brought Jeremy Synan home on a sacrifice fly.
The Crushers responded with a pair in the bottom of the third. Brandon Decker began the inning with a free pass, and he made his way to second on Brian Erie’s single. Both base runners advanced on a wild pitch, before Adrian Ortiz walked to load the bases. J.C. Figueroa then bounced into a 4-6-3 double play, which brought Decker home to tie the game. With a runner on third and two out, Jason Taylor hit a ground ball to short, which Bobby Burk booted, allowing Erie to score the go ahead run.
River City tied the game in the top of the fifth, on a pair of doubles. Doug Sanders started the inning with a two-bagger, and he came home moments later on Synan’s first of two doubles on the night.
In the fifth, the Crushers sent 13 batters to the plate, and scored eight times on nine hits to pull away. The first seven batters reached safely, with six of those batters recording hits during that stretch. Taylor drove in the first two runs on a base hit, and scored moments later on Davis’s double to left. Daniel Bowman drove in the next run on a single, before Erie smashed a bases loaded double to plate three runs. Ortiz capped the big inning, with an RBI single, which was his second hit of the inning.
River City answered with a four spot in the next half inning, scoring all four runs with two outs. Sanders knocked in the first run on a base hit, and Gerardo Avila drove in the second run on a double. Jason Patton socked a two-run single to cap the inning.
The Crushers plated their final run in the home half of the eighth inning, when Russ Moldenhauer registered his third hit of the game, which turned out to be his third homer of the season.
Trevor Longfellow (3-2) allowed just a pair of runs on six hits over five innings and struck out two in the process to earn the victory. Mickey Jannis (3) notched the save, while tossing 3.1 scoreless innings of two hit relief. Jason Sullivan (3-2) allowed four runs on six hits over two innings of relief and suffered the loss.
All nine in the starting lineup for the Crushers hit safely at least once, while four players registered multi-hit games. Erie and Moldenhauer paced the Crushers offensively. Moldenhauer went 3-for-5 with two base hits and the homerun, while Erie went 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI. Ortiz’s two hit performance extended his hitting streak to 20 games, establishing a new franchise record. Taylor went 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to eight games, and his on base streak to 23.
The Crushers will finish their three game series against the River City Rascals at All Pro Freight Stadium on Friday night. Left hander Josh Rickards (2-1, 4.60) will start for the Crushers, and the Rascals will counter with right hander Tony Marsala (2-2, 3.38). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
by Andy Barch
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011