Red Hot Offense
For the fourth day in a row, the Crushers score nine runs, or more, in winning fashion
Traverse City, Mich. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, got at least one hit from everyone in the order, as they accumulated two, three-run innings and beat the Traverse City Beach Bums, 12-5 on Friday night at Wuerfel Park.
The Crushers (43-45) have now won four games in a row and have scored 45 runs during the winning streak. Lake Erie has won 11 of their last 14 contests. The Beach Bums (37-49) have lost three consecutive games and have lost four of their last five games.
Lake Erie jumped on the board in the second inning. Eric Grabe singled to left field and Sean Hurley doubled to the left field wall, moving Grabe to third. With one out, Max Casper hit a ball to right that scored Grabe and moved Hurley to third base. Casper took a wide turn off of first and the first baseman, Giancarlo Brugnoni, cut the ball off and committed a throwing error while trying to throw Casper out. Hurley scored on the error and Casper went to third. The next batter, Parker Norris, hit a sacrifice fly to center field, capping the three run inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jose Vargas hit a triple that bounced off of the wall in center field. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Elijah Trail, putting the Beach Bums on the board, 3-1.
The Men of Crush did not wait long, going back to work in the fifth inning. With two outs, Grabe doubled left field and Hurley followed him with a two-run home run to left, his sixth of the season.
With the Crushers up, 5-1, Traverse City made it interesting when Brugnoni doubled and Kendall Patrick singled, scoring the run. Casey Rodrigue bunted the ball to second in his at bat, and Crushers' second baseman, Casper, threw the ball away, allowing Patrick to reach third base and Rodrigue to get to second. Ryan Bottger's double then scored two runs, making it a one-run game.
The Crushers had their second three run inning in the top of the sixth. With two outs, James Ball walked Robb Paller, Brendan Costantino and Connor Oliver. He was taken out of the game after walking Jose Barraza and giving the Crushers a run. Costantino and Oliver scored on a single by Grabe, later in the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Traverse City got their final run of the game. Steven Patterson walked moved to second on a walk and made his way to third on a fielder's choice. He scored as Rodrigue roped an RBI single into left field.
Already up, 8-5, the Crushers added four runs of insurance between the eighth and ninth inning. To lead off the eighth, Costantino was hit by a pitch and then Barraza and Grabe singled to load the bases with one out. Hurley brought two runs in with a single to center field and Grabe was out trying to score, as well. In the ninth, Norris singled and Paller knocked him in with a double. With two outs, Oliver lined an RBI single into right field
Stetson Nelson (6-6) allowed five runs over six innings for Lake Erie and picked up the win. He also struck out eight Beach Bums. The Crushers' bullpen was outstanding with Jordan McCoy, Brad Duffy and Manny Arciniega going three combined innings, allowing no hits and striking out five as a trio.
For Traverse City, Michael Shreves (3-9) allowed five runs, three earned, over five innings. He was the losing pitcher tonight, but the bullpen did not add much relief. Ball retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before walking four consecutive batters. Ball allowed three runs and then Jacob Lanning allowed two runs over 2.1 innings. Andrew Brockett gave up two runs, while getting two outs before leaving due to injury. Rob Blanc finished the top of the ninth inning.
The Crushers' Grabe and Hurley both had four hits tonight. Oliver went 1-5 at the plate and has now reached base safely in 21 straight games and is also on a four game hit streak. Barraza is on an eight game hit streak while Costantino has hit safely in five consecutive games.
The Crushers will continue this series with the Traverse City Beach Bums on Saturday night. Lake Erie will start righty Josh Heddinger (3-5, 5.69). The Beach Bums will go with right-hander Benjamin Libuda (3-4, 3.58). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.