Big third inning gives Crushers enough cushion for victory.
AVON, Ohio – In only their fourth divisional game on the 2021 campaign, the Lake Erie Crushers edged out the Windy City Thunderbolts 7-5 to open the series.
The Crushers (13-14) improve to 3-1 in division play this season with the Friday night victory.
A pitching matchup between Crusher right-hander Tyson Cronin and Windy City’s Tyler Thornton started strong both ways. The third inning was when Lake Erie exploded offensively and put a half dozen runs on the scoreboard.
A bases-loaded walk to Isaac Benard started the scoring parade for the Crushers. Eric Callahan scored on a Windy City error, followed by a Bryan DeLaRosa single into center field, scoring two men. DeLaRosa, along with Trevor Achenbach, eventually scored on a Connor Oliver triple. The bombardment of offense secured a 6-0 lead for the visiting Crushers.
Thornton exited after the six-run third inning for the Crushers. Of the six scored runs, only one was counted as earned. Lake Erie struck for four hits against Thornton while striking out four times.
A fielder’s choice off the bat of Zach Racusin propelled the first run home for the Thunderbolts in their half of the third inning.
Cronin lasted three-plus innings as the starter for Lake Erie. He only allowed one hit and two runs but had command issues as he dealt six free passes.
Peyton Isaacson trotted to home plate on a Brynn Martinez sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth to narrow the gap to four runs.
The Crushers answered in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly of their own. Oliver was the man responsible for scoring Brody Wofford.
Windy City would never bow out of the game. A Jamey Smart RBI single accompanied by an Isaacson run-scoring double eased the lead to three runs.
With a 7-4 advantage, Lake Erie conceded another run to the Thunderbolts in the bottom of the sixth inning. Zac Taylor doubled in a scenario that scored Jairus Richards on the play.
Windy City posed one more threat in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Crushers slammed the door after J.T. Perez subbed in to record the final out of the game.
Thornton received the loss after the brutal third inning he encountered on the mound. Aaron Glickstein recorded his second win of the season, moving his overall record to 2-1. Perez’s brief appearance was enough to get him his fourth save of the summer.
The middle game of the series is set for Saturday night in Crestwood, Illinois. Jake Pilarski is in line to make his second start for Lake Erie, and he will face lefty Kenny Matthews. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm EST.