The Crushers win as they get a big insurance run in the fifth and stop the Beach Bums late rally
Traverse City, Mich. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, took down the Traverse City Beach Bums, 5-4 at Wuerfel Park on Saturday night, getting four runs in the fourth inning along with good pitching by starter Josh Heddinger (4-5) and great defense.
The win for the Crushers (44-45) is their fifth consecutive victory and they are 15-9 in August. This is the longest road winning streak of 2016 for the Crushers. The Beach Bums (37-50) are 9-18 in one run games, this season, with the loss tonight.
The Crushers put the first runs on the board again, a feat they have accomplished in all but one game on the road trip. In the fourth inning, Eric Grabe singled with one out. Sean Hurley and Parker Norris walked to load the bases. Bryan De La Rosa roped an RBI singled, which scored one run. Max Casper hit a ball down the line in left field line, scoring Hurley and Norris. Robb Paller capped the four run inning with an RBI groundout to second, scoring De La Rosa.
The Crushers added a big run in the fifth inning. Connor Oliver was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jose Barraza singled, moving Oliver to second. Oliver stole third base and then Grabe hit an RBI sacrifice fly to right field.
With the Crushers up, 5-0, the Beach Bums started their comeback attempt in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jose Vargas doubled and scored when Will Kengor hit an RBI double immediately following Vargas.
In the eighth inning, the Beach Bums had a chance to tie or take the lead. Jeff DeBlieux and Ryan Bottger singled to start the inning. Vargas doubled again, this time it plated two runs. Kengor grounded out to second base, moving Vargas to third base. Jeff Dally then relieved Heddinger and gave up an infield base hit to Steven Patterson, scoring the third run of the inning, cutting the Crushers lead to one, 5-4. He then allowed Elijah Trail to single into left field. Dally was taken out of the game after he walked Christian Santisteban to load the bases. Chandler Jagodzinski put out the fire by striking out Gaby Juarbe and Casey Rodrigue, ending the inning.
Both teams had some defensive gems tonight. The Beach Bums' right fielder, Rodrigue, made two diving catches in the second inning, taking hits away from Grabe and Casper. The Crushers' right fielder, Norris, threw Juarbe out at third base when he tried to go from first to third on a single by DeBlieux. Oliver also made a diving catch in center field.
For the Crushers, Heddinger started the game and picked up the win after he went 7.1 innings. He allowed four runs on eight hits. Dally faced three batters and did not get an out and Jagodzinski (13) finished the game with a five-out save.
Benjamin Libuda (3-5) was the losing pitcher as he gave up five runs on five hits and four walks. James Ball gave the Beach Bums three innings of relief out of the bullpen. He did not allow a run while striking out two Crushers. Luke Barker pitched one scoreless inning.
Lake Erie's Oliver was hit by a pitch and doubled to extend his on-base streak to 22 straight games and he is on a five game hit streak. With a single tonight, Barraza is on a nine game hit streak. Costantino had his five game hit streak snapped tonight, but De La Rosa went 3-4 and has now reached base in 12 straight games.
The Crushers will go for the sweep of this series with the Traverse City Beach Bums on Sunday evening. Lake Erie will name their starter tomorrow, while the Beach Bums will start righty Kramer Chaplin (4-6, 2.60). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05.