Crushers snap five-game slide
Losing streak ends in 10-7 win over the Slammers
JOLIET, Ill. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday night, as they scored 10 times on 12 hits to defeat the Joliet Slammers, 10-7.
For the Crushers (17-19) the victory was their first on their current road trip, marking their first win since Saturday, June 18. The loss for the Slammers (22-16) was just their second in their last 11 games at home.
During their five-game skid, the Crushers scored 10 runs in those five games combined. In addition, they never held a lead in any of the aforementioned games during that skid. On Saturday, they scored 10 times, and took the lead from the beginning, scoring twice in the top of the first.
Back-to-back one out walks were issued to Brady North and Jose Barraza, before Eric Grabe smacked a RBI single to center to score North. Two batters later, Brendan Costantino delivered a clutch, two-out RBI single to right to score Barraza.
Joliet was able to answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning, but they could have done a lot more, had Mike Devine (5-1) not battled through adversity. The inning began with four consecutive singles. Boo Vazquez delivered a run scoring single, and two batters later Marc Flores tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Devine then induced an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Crushers took advantage of a throwing error two innings later to take a 3-2 lead. North and Barraza started the inning on back-to-back singles. North advanced to third on Eric Grabe's lineout to left, putting runners at the corners. De La Rosa then hit a line drive back to the mound, which was caught by the pitcher Shane Bryant (1-1), who then threw to first in an attempt to double up Barraza, but his errant throw ended up in foul territory, allowing North to score.
Lake Erie opened the game up with a five-run fifth inning. Parker Norris started the inning with a walk, and advanced to third on Barraza's double. Grabe then walked to load the bases, and De La Rosa drove Norris home on a sacrifice fly. Three consecutive RBI singles followed from Costantino, Carlos Avila and Cody Herald. On Herald's RBI single, an errant throw from left allowed Avila to score along with Costantino to wrap up the big frame, giving the Crushers an 8-2 lead.
Joliet was able to add a run in the sixth inning on Jake Gronsky's RBI single, before the Crushers put up two more in the seventh. Grabe began the seventh with a walk, and came around to score on De La Rosa's RBI double down the right field line. Avila reached on a fielder's choice later in the inning which allowed De la Rosa to score.
The Slammers made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Devin Malone issued back-to-back walks before plunking Rodriguez to load the bases. Vazquez then followed with a Grand Slam, his second of the series, and his third homer of the last two nights. Juan Caballero responded by retiring the next three batters to end the game.
Devine delivered in a big way, scoring the victory in a spot start. He went 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and struck out five along the way. Bryant took the loss after allowing six runs, five earned on six hits over 4.1 innings of action.
Lake Erie had a dozen hits on the night, with every position player reaching safely at least once. Barraza led the way with three hits, going 3-for-4 and has now reached in seven straight games. Grabe and Costantino both hit safely twice as well.
The Crushers will finish their three-game series with the Joliet Slammers on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Steve Hagen (2-2, 1.36) will start for the Crushers and the Slammers will go with right-hander Kaleb Ort (3-1, 4.90). The first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM.