Comeback Effort Falls Short
Crushers fall behind early and drop a 5-2 decision to Joliet
AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, saw a come from behind effort cut short at All Pro Freight Stadium on Wednesday evening, as they fell to the Joliet Slammers, 5-2.
The loss for the Crushers (45-47) snapped a four-game winning streak against the Slammers (49-42), while the victory for Joliet was their first at All Pro Freight Stadium this season, and the win proved to be a division clincher as well. Joliet's win, combined with Washington's loss clinched the Slammers' first division title since 2011.
The Crushers had plenty of chances to score, on a night where they left the bases loaded twice, and stranded nine base runners, while Joliet scored five times on 11 hits, getting a pair of huge insurance runs in the ninth to pull away.
After Lake Erie left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, Joliet snapped a scoreless tie with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Mike Garza reached on a one out single to left, and Zarley Zalewski followed with a two-run homer to left, his fifth of the season.
Lake Erie was able to dig into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth. Eric Grabe began the inning with a double off the wall in left field. Grabe advanced to third on Sean Hurley's fly-out to left center, and he came around to score on Richard Seigel's sac fly RBI.
Joliet added another run in the top of the seventh. Mike Garza started the inning with a single, made his way to second on a base hit from Zalewski and advanced to third after Joe Staley reached on a fielder's choice. Moments later, Garza scored on Casey Fletcher's sac fly RBI.
The Crushers answered in the bottom of the seventh. Bryan De La Rosa belted a two out double to left, his first of two hits on the night. Max Casper followed with a walk, and Rob Paller drove De La Rosa home on a RBI single to right.
The Slammers were able to pull away with a pair of big insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. They had runners on first and second with one out, when Staley belted a RBI single to right to score Carter Bell. Two batters later, Phil Bates drove Staley home on a run scoring single to center.
Liam O'Sullivan (11-1) scored the victory for the Slammers after allowing a pair of runs on six hits with five strikeouts after 6.2 innings of action. Zach Hirsch (2) earned the save, after tossing 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Connor Reed (4-2) took a hard luck loss, despite a strong pitching performance. He allowed three runs on seven hits over 7.2 innings of work.
Seven Crushers hit safely on the night, and De La Rosa led the way with a 2-for-4 performance, extending his on base streak to 15 games. Grabe went 1-for-3, reaching two times to extend his hitting streak to nine games, and his on base streak to 11 games.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Joliet Slammers at All Pro Freight Stadium on Thursday night. Lefty Stetson Nelson (6-6, 4.52) will start for the Crushers, and lefty Chris Rice (4-1, 3.69) is scheduled to start for the Slammers. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.