Middle of the order drives in six runs in 6-5 walk off victory
AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, scored a last at-bat victory on Saturday night at All Pro Freight Stadium, as Sean Hurley's RBI single scored Brendan Costantino in the bottom of the ninth to push the Crushers past the Joliet Slammers, 6-5.
For the Crushers (23-25) the victory gives them four in a row, and marks their third straight series win, while the loss for the first place Slammers (28-22) was their fourth in a row.
For the second night a row, Joliet fired the first shot, scoring twice on two hits and capitalizing on an error in the top of the first inning. Charlie White started the game with a single, and made his way to second base after Alfredo Rodriguez walked. An errant throw from catcher Bryan De La Rosa on a pickoff attempt to first ended up in right field, and allowed White to score from second. Jake Gronsky singled later in the first to put runners at the corners, and a balk committed by Manny Arciniega allowed Rodriguez to score.
Lake Erie came right back to take the lead with a three-run first inning. Costantino started a string of four consecutive one out hits. Costantino singled to right, before Jose Barraza lined a single to left, and Grabe followed by driving in Lake Erie's first run of the night on a RBI double down the right field line. Seigel followed with a RBI single to score Barraza, and Grabe came home moments later on Hurley's sacrifice fly to give the Crushers a 3-2 lead.
Joliet re-gained the lead two innings later. They had runners on second and third with two outs, when Gronsky delivered again, this time belting a two-run single to right field to give the Slammers a 4-3 advantage.
The Slammers used the long ball to add to their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Melvin Rodriguez began the inning with a towering solo homer over the wall in right, his second of the series and his fifth of the season to give Joliet a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Crushers responded with a pair of runs to tie the game at 5-5. Barraza was issued a one out walk, and three straight hits followed. Grabe belted a single through the left side of the infield, and Seigel and Hurley followed with back-to-back RBI singles to right.
The ninth inning started with a walk issued to Costantino. After Brent Choban (3-5) struck out Barraza, he walked Grabe, before retiring Seigel on a pop out. Choban was replaced by Tyler Levine who delivered a wild pitch to advance both runners, and he was ahead of Hurley, 1-2, before Hurley belted the game winning RBI single to center to score Costantino.
Hurley led the way for the Lake Erie offense, delivering his second consecutive three-hit performance, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and he's now hit safely in four straight games. Grabe hit safely three times as well, going 3-for-4, and Seigel went 2-for-5 on the night with two RBIs.
Brad Duffy (1-0) scored the victory for the Crushers, tossing two scoreless and hitless innings in relief. Duffy and Justin Sinibaldi combined to toss five scoreless innings of relief on the night. Choban took the loss after allowing a run on two walks through two-thirds of the ninth inning.
The Crushers will finish their three-game series with the Joliet Slammers on Sunday evening. Right-hander Juan Caballero (0-0, 4.58) will start for the Crushers and the Slammers will go with right-hander Liam O'Sullivan (5-0, 3.21). The first pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM.