That's All Folks
The Crushers win again in walk-off fashion and sweep Joliet before the All-Star Break
Avon, OH. -- The Crushers win on a walk-off hit for the second consecutive night as Connor Oliver singles to score the winning run in tenth inning as the Crushers are victorious, 2-1 on Sunday evening, sweeping the Joliet Slammers and taking a five game winning streak into the All-Star Break.
For the Crushers (24-25), the win marks their seventh win in nine games this month. This is the first Crusher sweep since Lake Erie took down the Gateway Grizzlies on May 31, June 1 and June 2. They are one game under the .500 mark for the first time since June 22. The Slammers (28-23) head into the break struggling after losing five straight games and dropping six of their last eight contests.
For the third day in a row, the Slammers scored in the top of the first inning. Alfredo Rodriguez hit a single into left field that dropped in front of the Crushers' left fielder, Sean Hurley. An error was given to Hurley as he over ran the ball, allowing Rodriguez to reach second base. Carter Bell walked and with two outs, Jake Gronsky hit an RBI double which plated Rodriguez for the first run of the game.
Lake Erie would respond in a hurry in the bottom of the first inning as Oliver and Brendan Costantino led off with back-to-back singles. Both runners moved up a base as Slammers' starting pitcher, Liam O'Sullivan, balked. Jose Barraza lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Oliver to tie the game. However, that would be all the Crushers would get in the bottom of the first.
Both pitching staffs were locked in after the first inning and neither offense had very many opportunities until the seventh inning. Between the second and sixth inning, the Slammers and Crushers had four combined runners in scoring position.
The Slammers threatened to score in the top of the seventh inning. With Mike Devine on for his second inning of relief, Casey Fletcher and Sikes Orvis both singled. After Phil Bates popped out on a bunt attempt and Charlie White struck out, Devine hit Alfredo Rodriguez with a pitch to load the bases. The Crushers came away unharmed as Carter Bell flew out to right field, ending the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Crushers had Eric Grabe on second base and Richard Seigel on first base with Saturday night's walk-off hero Sean Hurley at the plate. Hurley hit a line drive to Slammers' second baseman, Melvin Rodriguez. Rodriguez then flipped the ball to the shortstop, Alfredo Rodriguez, doubling up Grabe at second to end the inning.
Lake Erie was finally able to break the tie in the tenth inning. Spencer Medick (5-1) hit Justin Byrd with a pitch. Brett Synek put down a sacrifice bunt that moved Byrd to second base. Oliver then hit an RBI single to left-center field which plated Byrd.
The Crushers' starter, Juan Caballero went five strong innings for the Lake Erie Crushers but did not grab a decision. He allowed four hits, walked two, struck out two hitters and allowed one unearned run. This was only his second official start of the season. Devine went four innings in his first relief appearance since, June 18. He only allowed three hits and did not give up a run while striking out two batters. Keegan Ghidotti (2-1) picked up the win as he pitched a scoreless tenth inning, giving up one hit.
O'Sullivan went eight tremendous innings for the Slammers. He allowed five hits, one run and struck out eight Crusher hitters. He retired nine straight Crushers at one point in the game. Medick was given the loss after going 1.2 innings, allowing a run on one hit. This was Medick's first relief appearance of the season.
For the Crushers, Connor Oliver went 3-5, scoring once and knocking in a run. The bottom two of Lake Erie's lineup, Brett Synek and Max Casper both had a hit in tonight's game.
The Crushers will have four days off during the Frontier League All-Star break. Next Friday they will begin a three-game series with the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, Illinois. Neither team has announced their starting pitchers. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.