Comeback Cut Short
Crushers rally in the ninth but fall to Greys, 11-8
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers plated a pair of runs in the ninth inning of Tuesday morning’s contest at Mercy Health Stadium, but left the bases loaded and fell to the Empire State Greys, 11-8.
The loss for the Crushers (2-2) marked the first time this season that they lost a game in which they had the lead, while the win for the Greys (2-2) was their first against the Crushers in the all-time series.
It was a back-and-forth battle from the get go, as both teams led by multiple runs, and the two teams combined to score 19 runs on 25 hits.
The Greys fired first, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Quentin Holmes reached on a one out single and scored on Christopher Cespedes’s RBI double. Cespedes came around to score later in the inning on Sean Lawlor’s two out fielding error at first base.
Lake Erie responded with a run in the bottom of the first. In his first game of the season, Kenen Irizarry walked to start the first inning and scored on Santiago Chirino’s RBI single. The Crushers then scored three times in the second inning to take the lead. John Tuccillo started the inning with a double to right and advanced to third on Lawlor’s single. Ellison Hanna drove Tuccillo home on a double off the wall in center and Sean Cheely followed with a two run double down the line in left to give Lake Erie a 4-2 lead.
The Greys took advantage of another two out error in the top of the fourth inning to scratch another run across. Former Crusher Eric Callahan reached on Irizarry’s two out throwing error and scored on an Eric Jenkins RBI single.
Irizarry came through for the Crushers again in the bottom of the fourth inning to give them their largest lead of the game. He smashed a two run homer over the wall in right, his first of the season to give Lake Erie a 6-3 advantage.
Empire State put a six run frame together in the top of the sixth inning, where they sent 10 batters to the plate and did all of their damage on just four hits. JR DiSarcina was hit by a pitch with one out, Michael Gulino moved him to second on a single and Callahan drove him home on a RBI single to left. Callahan’s single knocked Gabriel Tapia out of the game for the Crushers, and he was replaced by Brayden Bonner (0-1). Bonner walked Jenkins to load the bases, before hitting Holmes with a 1-0 pitch to bring in another run. Cespedes then delivered a bases clearing double into the left field corner and he scored the final run of the inning on Steven Barmakian’s RBI single.
A big two out hit in the ninth inning provided the Greys with a pair of insurance runs. Barmakian walked to start the inning before John Mead was hit by a pitch. After Darrien Ragins retired the next two batters, Callahan struck again for the Greys, delivering a huge two out, two run single to left to give the Greys an 11-6 lead.
Lake Erie put a threat together in the bottom of the ninth to make things interesting. Jack Harris, Vince Byrd and Tuccillo recorded three consecutive one out hits to load the bases, and Sam Frontino came through with a pinch hit, two run single to center. Cheely followed Frontino with a walk to load the bases, but Tanner Propst was able to get Irizarry to fly out to right to end the game.
Miguel Rondon (1-0) tossed two scoreless innings in relief, allowing just a hit and struck out three to pick up the win. Bonner took the loss after allowing three runs on two hits over an inning and a third.
Every Crusher in the starting lineup hit safely at least once. Four Crushers turned in multi-hit games, as Byrd, Tuccillo, Lawlor and Cheely all hit safely multiple times. Chirino’s RBI single in the first inning gives him a hit in each game this season.
The Crushers and Greys will square off again on Wednesday morning at Mercy Health Stadium. Right-hander Matt Mulhearn (0-0, 3.00) will get the start for the Crushers and the Greys will counter with right-hander Matthew Peguero. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:05 AM.