AVON, Ohio – J.C. Figueroa’s
two out, two RBI single in the seventh inning broke a 9-9 tie and served as the
game winning hit as the Crushers outlasted the Normal CornBelters, 12-9, in the
rubber match of their three game series at All Pro Freight Stadium Thursday
The scoring got started early as Normal’s Tyler Wiesemeyer took the second pitch of the ballgame out of the ballpark to give Normal an early 1-0 lead.
Lake Erie then wouldn’t waste any time in getting back into the game as Daniel Bowman hit a two-run homerun in the bottom of the first to give the Crushers a 2-1 edge. For Bowman it was his fourth homerun of the season and RBI’s 30 and 31 on the season. The Crushers would then add two more in the second as Adrian Ortiz and Robby Kuzdale both scored after being walked. Ortiz scored following an error by third baseman Randy Wells, which put Wally Correa on base, and Kuzdale scored on Brian Erie’s fielder’s choice.
With Lake Erie up 4-1 entering the third, Normal stormed right back with four runs of their own to take a 5-4 lead in the third. Normal scored three of their four runs in the frame after two outs had been recorded as they capitalized on very sloppy defensive play by the Crushers. Normal’s Patrick McKenna singled and later scored on an RBI single by Randy Wells. Sam Judah, who reached on a two-out single, later scored on a wild pitch, which was then immediately followed up by a two-out, two RBI single by catcher Trey Manz that plated both Wells and Andrew Cohn.
Normal would then add two in the fourth, and two in the fifth, taking a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Ernie Banks Jr’s third homerun of the season, a two-run shot, gave the CornBelters their two runs in the fourth, and then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jesse Olivar and an RBI groundout by Wiesemeyer represented the scoring recap for Normal in the fifth.
The Crushers, down 9-4 in the bottom of the fifth, would immediately answer back with four of their own to make it a one run ballgame. Figueroa led off the frame with a single, and was later plated by an RBI single from Andrew Davis. Davis’ single was immediately followed up by a Russ Moldenhauer RBI double that plated Jason Taylor, who reached on a single with one out. Davis and Moldenhauer were then brought home courtesy of a two-out RBI double by Robby Kuzdale, which cut the Normal lead to only one.
Lake Erie then finally scored the equalizer in the sixth as Brian Erie scored on an errant throw from Normal shortstop Jesse Oliver. Then, tied at nine with Normal in the seventh, the Crushers would finally take the lead for good when Figueroa ripped a two-out, RBI single to put the Crushers ahead, 11-9. Both Moldenhauer—who led off the frame with a walk—and Wally Correa, scored on the play.
The Red & Black Attack would then go on to add one more in the eighth off the bat of Moldenhauer who brought home Taylor with a sacrifice fly.
Crushers closer Jonathan Kountis picked up a two-inning save (15), as he pitched a shutout in the last two innings of the ballgame in relief. Lake Erie reliever Trevor Longfellow (8-2) picked up the win for Lake Erie, while the loss went to Normal relief pitcher Tyler Stovall (1-9).Every Crushers player scored at least once in the ballgame in the victory, with Figueroa, Taylor and Moldenhauer leading the way with two runs scored apiece. Figueroa, Bowman, Moldenhauer and Kuzdale each led the way offensively in the RBI department, as they each contributed two to the winning cause.
The Crushers will begin a three-game series with the Joliet Slammers at Silver Cross Field on Friday night. Left hander Paul Fagan (7-6, 3.26) will start for the Crushers, and the Slammers will counter with right hander Tommy Mendoza (4-5, 4.52). The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.
by Howard Regal
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011