The Crushers avoid the sweep by getting a late run on a check swing to take the lead
SAUGET, Ill. – The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, defeat the Gateway Grizzlies, 3-2, on Sunday evening as the Crushers scored the eventual winning run in the seventh inning on a ground out.
The win for the Crushers (25-27) is their fourth win in their last eight road games. The Crushers are now 18-7 when scoring first. With the loss, the Grizzlies (27-29) have now dropped eight of their last 10 games overall.
The Crushers scored first for the second consecutive night in the top of the first inning. Brendan Costantino singled to left and Jose Barraza walked with one out. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch before Eric Grabe hit an RBI single to center field. Justin Byrd then grounded into a fielder's choice to the shortstop. That ground out scored Barraza, putting the Crushers up, 2-0.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Grizzlies tied it up with one swing of the bat. Blake Brown had the first hit of the game for Gateway as he hit a single toward Max Casper at second base. Casper slid to try to keep the ball on front of him but it took a hop off his glove, allowing Brown to reach first. Ben Waldrip then came up and hit his fifth home run of the season to right field.
Lake Erie would take the lead for good in the seventh inning. Byrd led off with a single to left field. With one out, Byrd scrambled to second base on a wild pitch before Richard Seigel walked. Tyler Tewell, the Grizzlies' catcher, tried to pick Byrd off at second base but the throw went into center field, allowing the Crushers' right fielder to get to third base. Bryan De La Rosa came up and hit a check swing groundout to first base. Waldrip picked the ball up and tagged De La Rosa, but Byrd scored.
The Crushers' pitching was exceptional tonight. Mike Devine (7-2) picked up the win as he went seven innings giving up two runs and striking out six hitters. Devine did not walk a hitter. Brad Duffy pitched the eighth inning and did not allow a hit while striking out two. Chandler Jagodzinski (5) picked up the save as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Gateway received very good pitching, as well, from their starter, Will Landsheft. Landsheft threw six innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out five hitters. Jon Pusateri (2-1) picked up the loss as he allowed an unearned run in .1 of an inning. JaVaun West pitched 1.2 innings and struck out two Crushers. Kevin Jefferis pitched the ninth inning and did not allow a hit.
The Crushers have Monday off and then will travel to Evansville, Indiana to take on the Otters at Bosse Field, beginning on Tuesday. The Crushers starting pitcher will be right-hander Juan Caballero (0-0, 3.65) and the Otters have not announced their starter. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:35 PM.