Crushers come from behind to sweep T-Bolts with a 4-2 victory
AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, recovered from a difficult first inning at All Pro Freight Stadium on Thursday night, and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to score a 4-2 victory over the Windy City Thunderbolts.
For the Crushers (38-43) the win was their fifth in a row, marking their longest winning streak since they started the season with six straight wins, while the loss for the Thunderbolts (36-44) was their fifth in a row, and dropped their record to 4-10 in August.
The Crushers committed three errors in the first inning, putting them in an early 2-0 hole, but they were able to capitalize on a terrific pitching performance from Connor Reed (3-1), as well as some timely hits and some great defense after the first inning.
In bizarre fashion, the Thunderbolts scored a pair of runs without recording a hit to take the lead in the top of the first inning. They capitalized on three Lake Erie errors to take the advantage. Tim Zier reached on Eric Grabe's fielding error at short to start the inning, and he came around to score later in the inning after Brendan Costantino's fielding error at third. Coco Johnson reached on a throwing a throwing error from Grabe, and came around to score after Kyle Wood reached on a fielder's choice.
Lake Erie proved to be resilient, as they were able to erase that 2-0 deficit, just as they had done two nights before. Jose Barraza started the second inning with a walk, before stealing second base, and scored on Sean Hurley's RBI double to the gap in left center field. Richard Seigel's groundout put Hurley at third, and he scored the game tying run on a sac fly RBI from Grabe.
While the Crushers struggled defensively in the early goings, it was a terrific defensive play from Connor Oliver in center field that gave them a little momentum heading into the bottom of the third. Windy City had runners on first and second with two outs, when Johnny Eierman hit a ball deep to the gap in left center, but Oliver made a terrific diving catch near the warning track to end the inning.
Rob Paller started the bottom of the third with a double to the gap in right center field. A wild pitch put him on third base, and two batters later, he scored on Oliver's RBI single to center field, giving the Crushers a 3-2 lead.
The Crushers were able to add another one in the bottom of the fifth on Barraza's second hit of the game. Paller started the inning with a walk, and Costantino pushed him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Oliver then walked, before Barraza belted a RBI single to right to score Paller.
Reed worked around that difficult first inning, and scored the victory after allowing just a pair of unearned runs on three hits over six innings of work. Jordan McCoy and Josh Laxer combined to toss two scoreless innings of relief to hold the lead, and Chandler Jagodzinksi (10) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to score the save. Windy City's Kyle Von Ruden (1-4) took the loss after allowing four runs on four hits over 4.1 innings of work.
Barraza paced the Crushers offensively with a pair of hits on the night, going 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI. He finished the year with 15 hits against the Thunderbolts this season. Barraza was the only Crusher to hit safely twice, while Paller, Oliver and De La Rosa all reached safely multiple times on the night. Oliver has now reached safely in 14 straight games.
The Crushers will begin a three game series with the Traverse City Beach Bums at All Pro Freight Stadium on Friday night. Left-hander Stetson Nelson (5-6, 4.40) will start for the Crushers and the Beach Bums will go with right-hander Tucker Simpson (2-3, 2.89). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.