The Crushers are swept by the CornBelters as they lose a late lead and are outhit, 12-7
Avon, OH. – The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, were defeated and swept by the Normal CornBelters, 6-4, as the Crushers allowed four runs after the fifth inning and struggled to score late on Sunday evening.
The loss for the Crushers (27-31), represents only the third time they have been swept at All Pro Freight Stadium. They fall to 16-13 at home this season. For the CornBelters (29-31), the win puts their road record at 14-13 on the season. Normal has now won four games in a row.
Normal fired the first shot of the game when Santiago Chirino led off the fourth inning with a single and Aaron Dudley followed with a ground-rule double. Dillon Haupt hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Chirino. Dudley moved to third as Crushers' left fielder, Sean Hurley, threw the ball past Max Casper, who was covering third base. Dudley would score on a single to the left side of the infield off the bat of Craig Lepre. The CornBelters led 2-0.
In the fifth inning, the Crushers took the lead for the first time since the second inning on Saturday. Sean Hurley doubled to begin the bottom of the inning. A Justin Byrd single moved Hurley over to third before Nick Covello came up and hit an RBI single into center field, scoring one run and Covello moved to second on the throw home. The Crushers did not stop there because Parker Norris hit a groundball to the shortstop, Chirino, with runners on first and second. Byrd scored on the groundout and Covello scooted to third. Max Casper singled up the middle, scoring Covello and giving Lake Erie a 3-2 lead.
The lead for the Men of Crush was short lived. The CornBelters tied the game as they got a run in the sixth inning when Nolan Meadows knocked a one out single into right field. Immediately after the base hit, Lepre hit an RBI double.
The CornBelters would send pinch-hitter Ty Morris into the game to replace Mitch Elliot to start the seventh inning. Morris hit a hard groundball that bounced off of Richard Seigel's glove at first base. After the error, Justin Fletcher popped out to the pitcher, Jordan McCoy, on a bunt attempt. McCoy dove on the turf next to the first base line to make the play. Chirino walked and then ran to third on Aaron Dudley's RBI single which scored Morris. Chirino scored on a passed ball by the Crushers' catcher Jose Barraza to put Normal up, 5-3.
Connor Oliver hit his seventh home run of the season to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning. The solo shot made it a 5-4 deficit.
However, in the ninth inning, the CornBelters went back up by two runs. Justin Fletcher hit a single and moved to second base on a wild pitch by Brad Duffy. Dudley came up and hit another RBI single to center, putting Normal up, 6-4.
Juan Caballero started the game on the mound for the Crushers and went six innings allowing eight hits and three runs with two of them being earned runs. McCoy (0-1) was given the loss when he came in and allowed two runs, one earned, in the seventh inning. Duffy pitched two innings and allowed a run on three hits.
Horatio Acosta went five innings as the starting pitcher for Normal. Acosta gave up three runs on six hits. Brennan Smith (1-0) picked up the win as he gave up the home run to Oliver and went 1.2 innings in relief. Casey Brown (1) went 2.1 innings, walking two and striking out two hitters, collecting his first save of the season.
Casper had his first multi-hit game since July 3. Hitters six, seven and eight in the Crushers lineup had a hit.
Lake Erie will travel to O'Fallon, Missouri and play the River City Rascals beginning on Tuesday. Both starters will be announced later. The two teams will continue a game that was suspended on May 14, at 6:05 PM and play the scheduled game following the end of the first game.