Crushers Out-slug Otters
Kemuel Thomas-Rivera’s four hits lead Lake Erie in 13-8 win
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers turned in their second best offensive performance of the season on Wednesday afternoon at Mercy Health Stadium, as they plated 13 runs on 14 hits and beat the Evansville Otters, 13-8.
The Crushers (27-35) have now won five straight games at home against the Otters (34-27), who have an 11-10 record on the road outside of Avon.
Evansville fired the first shot in the top of the first inning, when Kona Quiggle smashed a solo homer to right, his eighth of the season.
Lake Erie scored four times on just a pair of hits in the second inning to take the lead. Kemuel Thomas-Rivera walked to start the inning before Scout Knotts was hit by an 0-2 pitch to move him to second. Josh Rego singled to right field to load the bases for John Tuccillo who was then hit by the first pitch of the at bat to bring Rivera home. Jiandido Tromp reached on an infield single to score Knotts and give Lake Erie a 2-1 lead. Zach Racusin then hit a ground ball to short which was handled by Ethan Skender to threw out Tromp at second, but Josh Broughton’s errant relay throw to first ended up in the Evansville dugout and plated two more runs.
The Crushers pushed two more across in the in the bottom of the third. Thomas-Rivera started the rally with a one out double to right and Jarrod Watkins followed with a single to left. Knotts reached on a walk to load the bases, and Rego worked a bases loaded walk to score Rivera. Tuccillo followed with a run scoring groundout to plate Watkins, giving Lake Erie a 6-1 advantage.
The two teams exchanged runs in the fourth. Evansville used the long ball to score their second run of the game as Skender hit a solo homer over the wall in left, his fifth of the season. Lake Erie responded with a run in the home half of the inning as Thomas-Rivera stroked his second double of the day, a two out RBI double down the line in left to score Jack Harris.
Evansville battled back with a trio of runs in the top of the fifth. Three straight walks were issued to start the inning, and Dakota Phillips drove in the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to center to score Bryan Rosario. Jomar Reyes followed with a two run double to left center to score Noah Meyers and Quiggle to bring the Otters within two (7-5).
Lake Erie pulled away with a trio of runs in the sixth, and they repeated that feat in the seventh. Sean Cheely stroked a run scoring single in the sixth inning to plate Thomas-Rivera and Rego capped the frame with a two run homer to left, his first with the Crushers.
The seventh inning was highlighted by Thomas-Rivera’s fourth hit of the game, and perhaps his biggest as well. He smashed a majestic three-run blast that landed onto of the Nordson lawn area beyond the wall in left, his fourth homer of the year to give Lake Erie a 13-5 lead.
The Otters plated a single run in the eighth and two more in the ninth but it was too little, too late.
Thomas-Rivera paced the Lake Erie offense with an incredible 4-for-4 performance, reaching all five times he came to the plate. KTR had a pair of doubles, a base hit, and a walk to go along with the three run homer in the seventh. He’s recorded six hits in the first two games of the series. Tromp went 3-for-5 in the lead off spot for the Crushers with a trio of singles, while Cheely and Rego both hit safely twice on the afternoon as well.
JD Hammer (3-3) secured the victory for the Crushers after allowing five runs on six hits with a trio of walks and five strikeouts over five innings of work. Evansville’s Zach Smith (5-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs on six hits with four walks and he hit three batters as well over 3.2 innings of work. Evansville Manager Andy McCauley was ejected in the third inning, and pitching coach Max Peterson was ejected in the eighth.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Otters at Mercy Health Stadium on Thursday night. Right-hander Angelo Baez (4-5, 2.60) will get the start for the Crushers and the Otters will counter with lefty Braden Scott (0-0, 3.18). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.