Crushers fall in series finale
Lake Erie drops rubber match to Tri-City, 10-6
TROY, N.Y.— The Lake Erie Crushers were not able to hold on to an early lead on Thursday morning at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, as they fell in their series finale to the Tri-City Valley Cats, 10-6.
The loss for the Crushers (3-3) marks their first series loss this season while the victory for the Valley Cats (4-2) marks their second straight series win.
Lake Erie homered for the fifth consecutive game, this time it was Bryant Flete who went deep to give Lake Erie an early lead. Flete homered for the second time in as many games, smashing a two run homer to right to give Lake Erie a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Valley Cats tied the game in the bottom of the second. Willy Garcia smacked a run scoring double to left and came around to score later in the inning on Pavin Parks’s RBI single.
Tri-City took the lead in the bottom of the third and never looked back. Juan Silverio brought Jesus Lujano home on a sacrifice fly and Lujano struck a gain an inning later as he singled to right field to bring Carson McCusker home.
Lake Erie was able to inch closer in the top of the fifth when Kenen Irizarry singled to left field to score Danny Perez, but the Valley Cats responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the fifth on Denis Phipps’s solo homer to left.
The Valley Cats then pulled away in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring four times to take a 9-3 lead. Jonah Girand hit a solo homer to left to start the rally, before Brantley Bell scored on a wild pitch and Phipps struck again with a two run single to center.
Phipps wasn’t done, as he drove in Tri-City’s final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth on his second bomb of the contest, a solo sot to center to give the Valley Cats a 10-3 lead.
Lake Erie was able to rally for three runs in the ninth, but came up short. Jack Harris capped his huge series with a two run double to center, and he scored a few moments later on Jackson Valera’s RBI single to right.
Adam Hofacket (2-0) picked up the victory in relief for the Valley Cats. He tossed two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief and struck out four batters. Julio Vivas (1-1) took the loss after allowing five runs, four earned on nine hits while fanning six batters over five innings of action.
Irizarry and Valera led the Crushers offensively, as they both hit safely three times. Irizarry went 3-for-5 and scored once, while Valera went 3-for-5 as well and drove in a run. Harris went 1-for-5 on the day with a pair of RBI, giving him five straight games with two RBI or more.
Lake Erie returns home to Mercy Health Stadium on Friday night to begin a three game series with the Sussex County Miners. Lefty Gunnar Kines (0-0, 4.50) is scheduled to start for the Crushers. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.