Walk To Victory
The Crushers get a two-run homer from Sean Hurley and walk 11 times as they beat Joliet
Avon, OH. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, took down the Joliet Slammers, 8-2, as they scored three runs in the third and the fifth, propelling them to victory over the Slammers, on Thursday evening at All Pro Freight Stadium and are now just two games out of the final wild card spot.
With the win, the Crushers (46-47) take the season series, 7-5 over the Slammers. The Crushers have now won seven of their last nine games and have gone 14-5 since August 10. The Slammers (50-43), who clinched the East Division yesterday, lost their third game, tonight, in their last seven contests.
The Slammers put the first run on the board in the second inning. Mike Garza led off with a double to left-center field. Zarley Zalewski followed him with a single past the Crushers' third baseman, Brendan Costantino. That hit allowed Garza to score the first run of the game. The Crushers' starting pitcher, Stetson Nelson (7-6) did a nice job of regaining his composure and getting through the rest of the inning without allowing another run.
In the bottom of the second inning, Jose Barraza was hit by a pitch and moved to second on an errant pick-off throw by the Slammers' starter, Chris Rice (4-2). With Barraza in scoring position, Eric Grabe hit a ball that bounced off of the turf in front of home plate. The catcher, Joe Staley, picked the ball up and threw to first, but never covered home plate after the out. Barraza continued running, and scored from second base. The Crushers second run in the inning came from an RBI single by Max Casper, which scored Hurley.
Lake Erie added three runs in the third inning. Costantino singled and then would later come around to score on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning, Grabe was walked and Hurley his seventh home run of the season to left field, putting the Crushers up, 5-1.
The Crushers did not stop there and would put insurance runs on the board in the fifth inning. Connor Oliver walked and Barraza singled. With nobody out, Marc Rutledge walked Grabe to load the bases. After Hurley popped out to second base, Parker Norris walked, scoring Oliver. Bryan De La Rosa's walk scored Barraza and the final run of the inning came via the sacrifice fly off the bat of Casper.
Trailing 8-1, the Slammers scored their final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. Staley earned a walk to start the inning. He moved to second on a single by Garza and went to third on the double play off the bat of Zalewski. Melvin Rodriguez then hit a single to left field, scoring a run.
Nelson pitched well for the Crushers. He picked up the win going 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits but walked five Slammers. Manny Arciniega (1) recorded his first career save, pitching 3.1 innings, striking out four and only allowing one hit.
For the Slammers, Rice was the losing pitcher. He went three innings, striking out four but allowing five runs, four of them earned, on three hits, while committing two errors. Rutledge went 1.1 innings and allowed three runs and walked four Crushers. Kaleb Ort went 1.2 innings, walking four and Connor McLaughlin pitched a scoreless inning. Robert Robbins also threw a scoreless inning.
For Lake Erie, Grabe's nine game hit streak came to an end, but he walked twice, extending his on base streak to 12 consecutive games. De La Rosa has reached base safely in 16 straight games as he, also, walked twice tonight.
The Crushers will take on the Washington Wild Things on Friday, the beginning of the final home stand at All Pro Freight Stadium in the 2016 regular season. The Crushers will start right-hander Steven Hagen (6-6, 3.58). The Wild Things will go with righty Christian Powell (1-0, 4.61). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.