Saturday, June 30, 2012
FLORENCE, Ky. – The Lake Erie Crushers used three big innings to score their sixth win in a row, enduring 95 degree heat, in an 8-3 victory over the Florence Freedom on Saturday night.
The Crushers offense plated multiple runs in three separate innings, and received a strong start from Eric Gonzalez-Diaz (3-4) who went the distance to score his second consecutive victory.
With the victory, the Crushers (20-20) have not only won six in a row, but also reached the .500-mark for the first time this season. The loss for the Freedom (22-18) was their fifth in their last six games.
Lake Erie used a pair of big two out extra base hits to take an early lead in the top of the first inning. Florence starter Alec Lewis (2-5) issued a one out free pass to J.C. Figueroa, before retiring Jason Taylor on a fly out to center. Russ Moldenhauer then won an eight pitch battle against Lewis, with a two out double to left field, scoring Figueroa in the process. Andrew Davis followed Moldenhauer’s run scoring double, with one of his own to complete the two run frame.
The Crushers opened the flood gates with a four run fourth inning. Moldenhauer began the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on Davis’s base hit. Daniel Bowman drove Moldenhauer home on an RBI single, before Brian Erie shot a double down the left field line to plate the next two. Erie was on third with two outs, when Adrian Ortiz hit a routine ground ball to first, that was too hot for Drew Rundle to handle, and the error allowed Erie to score.
Lake Erie wasn’t done, as they scored two more times in the top of the fifth. Taylor started the inning with a base hit, and stole second base before coming home on Moldenhauer’s second RBI double of the game. Moldenhauer reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on Davis’s sacrifice fly.
Florence plated all three of their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Rundle belted a three run homer over the wall in right center field.
Gonzalez-Diaz earned the victory, going the distance for the Crushers, marking Lake Erie’s third complete game of the season. He allowed three runs on 10 hits and struck out six in the process, while Lewis took the loss after allowing eight runs on seven hits over five innings.
In the victory, Adrian Ortiz saw his remarkable 21-game hitting streak come to an end, after going 0-for-5. Taylor extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fifth inning single, and increased his on base streak to 25 games. Moldenhauer went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI, bringing his on base streak to 21 games. Davis had another big night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a run scored, a pair of doubles and two RBI.
The Crushers will finish their three game series against the Florence Freedom at the home of the Florence Freedom with a day/night doubleheader on Sunday. Right hander Alex Loftin (2-0, 1.59) will start for the Crushers, and the Freedom will counter with right hander Sean Gregory (3-3, 3.32) in game one. The first pitch is game one scheduled for 1:05 PM. Game two is slated to begin at 6:05 PM.
by Andy Barch