The Crushers drop their second game in a row as they manage one hit against the Grizzlies pitching
SAUGET, Ill. – The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, fell to the Gateway Grizzlies, 5-1 on Saturday night as three Grizzlies' pitchers combined to allow one hit and now the Crushers look to avoid the sweep tomorrow.
The loss for the Crushers (24-27) drops their road record to 8-17 on the year. This represents the first Crushers losing streak in the month of July. For the Grizzlies (27-28), the win gives them their first winning streak since taking down the River City Rascals on July 2 and July 3.
The Crushers got on the scoreboard first, getting the only run they could manage tonight. Connor Oliver was walked to lead off the contest. Oliver stole his sixth base of the season with Brendan Costantino at the plate. Costantino and Jose Barraza both flew out to center field. Oliver was able to tag up and reach second base on Barraza's fly ball. After Eric Grabe walked, Sean Hurley hit a ball that the shortstop, Logan Davis, misplayed on the turf. The error allowed Hurley to reach first base and Oliver to score.
Gateway responded and scored in the bottom of the first inning for the second consecutive night. With Steven Hagen (3-3) on the mound for the Crushers, Cody Livesay led off with a single. Craig Massoni reached with a one out walk before Brandon Thomas and Tyler Tewell hit back-to-back RBI singles. Blake Brown then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Thomas, capping the three run inning.
Leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Grizzlies added a few insurance runs. Connor Reed relieved Hagen and immediately gave up a ground-rule double that went to right-center field off the bat of Seth Heck. For the second night in a row, Massoni launched a home run to right field in the seventh, this time a two-run shot.
Lake Erie's only hit came in the second inning as Parker Norris hit a hard ground ball that was knocked down by the second baseman, Heck, who could not throw Norris out.
Hagen was saddled with the loss as he pitched six innings allowing eight hits, three runs and was able to settle in after the tough first inning. Reed allowed two runs in .2 of an inning. Josh Laxer made his Crusher debut and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.
Adam Eggnatz (4-1) went six outstanding innings for the Grizzlies, picking up the win. He allowed only one hit and one unearned run while walking three hitters. Jon Jones relieved Eggnatz and went 2.1 innings striking out four Crushers. Jordan Wellander got the final two outs of the game.
The Crushers will finish this series with the Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark on Sunday evening. The Crushers starting pitcher will be righty Mike Devine (6-2, 2.50) and the Grizzlies will counter with right-hander Will Landsheft (3-5, 4.95). The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.