Tough End to a Tough Trip
Road trip ends in 3-2 loss to Joliet
JOLIET, Ill. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, saw a comeback attempt spoiled on Sunday afternoon against the Joliet Slammers at Silver Cross Field, as they fell for the fifth time on their current road trip in a 3-2 loss to the Slammers.
For the Crushers (17-20) the loss was their fifth on their six-game road trip, while the win for the Slammers (23-16) was just their 10th in their last 12 games at home.
Lake Erie was down, 3-2, in the top of the ninth inning, and had runners on first and second with one out, when Carlos Avila hit into a game ending double play in a contest where the Crushers had a hard time generating any offense, with just four hits on the afternoon.
Joliet took an early lead, scoring single runs in the first and second inning. Alfredo Rodriguez reached in the bottom of the first on a one-out base hit, and made his way to third on a single from Boo Vazquez, before scoring the game's first run on Carter Bell's sacrifice fly.
The Slammers added another run in the bottom of the second. Joe Staley kept the inning alive on a two-out single, and Phil Bates followed with a RBI triple to right.
The Crushers scored their first run in the top of the fourth inning. Eric Grabe smacked a two-out triple to right field, and he came home moments later on Bryan De La Rosa's RBI single through the right side of the infield. The RBI was De La Rosa's sixth of the road trip.
Lake Erie tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, as Scott Carcaise hit his first homer of the season.
Joliet regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Charlie White started the inning with a double to center. After Rodriguez grounded out, White made his way to third on a wild pitch, which forced the Crushers to intentionally walk Vazquez. Bell then hit a line drive to center, and Parker Norris made a terrific diving catch to steal a hit from him. However, it was enough to score White from third, for the eventual game winning run.
The Crushers made things interesting in the ninth. Grabe started the top of the ninth with a walk, and advanced to second after Brendan Costantino was hit by a pitch with one out. Avila worked his way into a full count, before he hit a soft liner back up the middle, which was picked up on one hop by the shortstop, Rodriguez, who was able to execute the double play to end the game.
Steve Hagen turned in another outstanding performance, but took a no decision. Hagen went 6.2 innings, and allowed just two runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Joliet's starter, Kaleb Ort struck out 13 batters on the day, allowing two runs on three hits over seven innings.
Tyler Levine (2-0) scored the victory for the Slammers. He walked a pair of batters, but worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Brent Choban (2) induced the game ending double play to grab the save. Keegan Ghidotti (1-1) took the loss, after allowing a run on one hit over two-thirds of the eighth inning.
Lake Erie was held to just four hits on the day. Grabe led the way, going 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk, and has registered eight hits over his last four games. De La Rosa went 1-for-3 as well, giving him seven hits on the road trip. Carcaise and Max Casper hit safely as well.
The Crushers are off on Monday, but will return home on Tuesday night to begin a three-game series with the Florence Freedom at All Pro Freight Stadium. Right-hander Jordan Kraus (2-3, 4.39) will start for the Crushers and the Freedom will go with right-hander Davis Adkins (1-0, 3.27). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.