Crushers fall in 12
Lake Erie falls one run short in 2-1 loss to Wild Things
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, received a number a great pitching performances at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Thursday night, but left 15 runners on base and fell to the Washington Wild Things, 2-1 in 12 innings.
The loss for the Crushers (22-22) puts them back in a tie with the Schaumburg Boomers for first place in the Frontier League’s Eastern Division, while the win for the Wild Things (20-28) snapped a brief, three game losing streak. The loss also spoiled what would have been Lake Erie’s second sweep of the Wild Things this season.
Both teams had plenty of chances to score throughout the night. The Wild Things were only retired in order in three innings, leaving 10 runners on base. The Crushers had at least one base runner in every inning of the contest and stranded 15.
The game was scoreless through nine innings, though it appeared as though the Crushers were going to win in the bottom of the ninth. Jake Vieth delivered a pinch hit single to start the bottom of the ninth and made his way to second on Karl Ellison’s sacrifice bunt. Ashton Bardzell, who turned in a three hit performance in his professional debut, belted a single to right field with Vieth on second. Vieth tried to score on the play but was thrown out at home plate on a nice throw from Washington right fielder, Hector Roa.
With the International Tiebreaker rules in play in the top of the 11th inning, Cameron Baranek, who made the last out in the 10th inning, started the 11th on second base. Baranek made his way to third on a single from Cody Erickson, and eventually scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch.
Lake Erie responded with a run to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Steven Kraft started the inning on second, and Body Wofford’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third. Veith followed with a RBI single to right, scoring Kraft to tie the game at 1-1.
Washington came right back with another run in the top of the 12th inning. Brett Marr started the inning on second, moved to third on a groundout from Ryan Cox, and scored the eventual game winner on Chase Sudduth’s RBI groundout.
The Crushers put together one more threat in the bottom of the inning. Bardzell began the inning on second, while Aaron Hill was hit by a pitch. James Davison Jr. put a sacrifice bunt down to move them both over, before the Wild Things intentionally walked Emmanuel Marrero to load the bases. Zach Racusin reached on a fielder’s choice, but Bardzell was forced out at home on the play, before James Meeker (1) struck out Kraft to end the game.
Five Crusher pitchers saw action on the night, and not a single one allowed an earned run. Alex Romero started and pitched six scoreless innings. Jack Maynard made his Lake Erie debut, tossing 2.1 innings of scoreless relief while fanning five batters. Augie Gallardo allowed an unearned run on one hit over two innings, while Logan Lombana (0-2) allowed an unearned run in one inning of action. Washington’s Zach Strecker (1-2) picked up the win after allowing just an unearned run on five hits over three innings. Meeker scored the save after working a scoreless 12th inning.
On a night where all but two Crushers reached safely at least once, Racusin led the way, going 4-for-6. Bardzell wasn’t far behind, turning in a 3-for-5 performance and Vieth went 2-for-2 on the evening. The intentional walk issued to Marrero in the 12th inning extended his on base streak to 21 games.
The Crushers will finish the first half of the season with a weekend series on the road against the Florence Freedom, which begins on Friday night. The Crushers are continuing a game that was suspended due to rain in the seventh inning, and then play a seven inning game after. The first game is expected to resume play at 5:35 PM.