One hit wonder
Crushers avoid sweep, one-hit Washington in 1-0 win
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Eric Gonzalez-Diaz took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of Sunday night’s contest at Consol Energy Park, and had his no hit bid ruined by Jim Vahalik’s leadoff double, but the Crushers hung on to take the finale from the Washington Wild Things in a 1-0 victory.
The victory for the Crushers (40-32) marks their seventh in 12 games against the Wild Things this season. The loss for Washington (30-41) was just their third in their last nine games.
Gonzalez-Diaz (6-6) who had tossed eight strong innings in his previous start against Rockford on July 31, was simply dominant all through the contest. He retired the first 22 batters he faced, and had a perfect game going until Andrew Heck reached on Aaron Klinec’s error at short with one down in the eighth inning.
Starting pitching was strong as well for the Wild Things, as lefty Shawn Smith (1-2) tossed six strong innings and allowed just a run on six hits with three strikeouts.
The Crushers plated the only run of the contest, at the very beginning. Adrian Ortiz worked his way into a full count, and on the 11th pitch of the at bat, hit his second homerun of the season to score the only run of the game.
Lake Erie had several chances to add to that lead, but could not capitalize. Daniel Bowman belted a one out double in the second inning, but never got past second base. The Crushers had two on with one out in the fourth inning and couldn’t score, and saw the same thing happen in the sixth inning.
Gonzalez-Diaz tossed eight no hit innings, before allowing the double to Vahalik in the ninth, and was replaced by Mickey Jannis (5). The first batter he faced, Robbie Garvey hit a ground ball right back to the mound, Jannis fielded it, and threw out Vahalik at third base.
Washington leadoff hitter Darian Sandford followed, hitting a ground ball to Russ Moldenhauer at first, who threw to second to retire Garvey on the force out, but Sandford reached on the fielder’s choice. Sandford, who had 46 stolen bases on the year, took off on the first pitch to Gus Benusa, he beat the throw from Kyle Shaffer, but he slid off the bag at second, and Klinec put the tag on him to end the game.
Gonzalez-Diaz took the victory, in his finest outing of the season. He tossed eight scoreless frames of one hit ball, and struck out a season high, 10 batters. Jannis worked a scoreless ninth to get save. Over his last two starts, Gonzalez-Diaz has allowed just a run on two hits with 15 strikeouts over 16 innings of work. The Crushers struck out the Wild Things 44 times in the series.
The Crushers had six hits on the night, equaling their total in that category from the previous two nights. Ortiz and Moldenhauer paced the Crushers with two hits apiece, while Bowman reached twice on a walk and a double.
The Crushers are off on Monday, but will begin a three game series with the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark on Monday night. Right hander Pat Arnold (0-0, 2.21) will start for the Crushers, and the Grizzlies will counter with right hander Brett Zawacki (1-1, 5.75). The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011