Crushers homer three times, take series opener, 5-4
SAUGET, Ill. – The Lake Erie Crushers used three solo homeruns to push their way past the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark on Tuesday evening, as they took the series opener, 5-4.
The victory for the Crushers (41-32) marks their first in four games against the Grizzlies this season, while the loss for Gateway (43-30) snapped their four game winning streak.
The Crushers recorded nine hits in the contest, one fewer than they registered in their previous three games combined. The homers, all solo shots came from Adrian Ortiz, Andrew Davis, and Robby Kuzdale.
As he had done just two days earlier, Ortiz started the ballgame with a homerun, his third of the season. Two batters later, Jason Taylor belted a double to the gap in right center field. Taylor stole third, then scored on Russ Moldenhauer’s groundout.
The Crushers added to their lead with a clutch two out extra base hit in the second inning. Kuzdale walked, and stole second, before he scored on Wally Correa’s double. The two-bagger was Correa’s first of three hits on the night.
Lake Erie’s 3-0 lead would hold until the Grizzlies struck for a trio of runs to tie the contest in the bottom of the third inning. Pat Arnold’s throwing error allowed Jonathan Johnson to reach with one out, and he stole second before scoring on a two out RBI single from former Crusher, Rogelio Noris. Jon Myers followed Noris with a two-run bomb to tie the game.
The Grizzlies used the long ball an inning later to take their only lead of the contest. After Arnold retired John Shelby on a strikeout to start the inning, Jerod Yakubik smashed a solo homer, to give the Grizzlies a 4-3 advantage.
In the sixth inning, the Crushers turned to veteran Andrew Davis with one out, and he responded with his second homerun of the road trip. His solo shot cleared the wall in right center, giving him eight on the season, and tied the game at 4-4.
The long ball was used to push the Crushers over the top in the ninth inning. Zac Treece (2-1), who entered the game with a 0.86 ERA in 41.2 innings of work, retired Daniel Bowman on a groundout, before surrendering a solo homer to Kuzdale, which turned out to be the difference.
Ben Klafczynski (4-1) tossed three scoreless innings of no hit relief and fanned two batters in the process to score the victory, while Jonathan Kountis (14) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to secure the save. Treece was tagged with the loss.
The bottom of the Lake Erie batting order was extremely productive. Kuzdale in the seventh spot, reached in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, and a double to go along with the homer. Correa paced the Crushers in the nine hole, with a 3-for-4 performance, and Davis hit safely twice, going 2-for-4.
The Crushers will continue their three game series with the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark on Wednesday night. Left hander Paul Fagan (6-5, 3.20) will start for the Crushers, and the Grizzlies will counter with right hander Chris Enourato (3-3, 4.63). The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.
by Andy Barch
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011