Crushers pick up first win in 2021
Lake Erie wins at home for the first time in 21 months.
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers used a three-run third inning and a solid starting pitching performance from Robby Rowland to defeat the Washington Wild Things, 5-3 on Saturday afternoon at Mercy Health Stadium
For the Crushers (1-1), the victory was their first at home since August 25, 2019, while the loss for the Wild Things (0-3) leaves them still in search of their first win this season.
Lake Erie fired the first shot in the bottom of the third. The Crushers forced Washington starter Kevin McNorton (0-1) to throw 41 pitches in the inning as they sent nine batters to the plate and scored a trio of runs on three hits.
Zach Gray started the home half of the third with a single to center. Shawon Dunston Jr. then drew an 11-pitch walk before Javier Betancourt reached on an infield single. Connor Oliver followed with a single to center field which plated a pair of runs. An errant throw from Washington center fielder Derek Reddy allowed Betancourt to score on the play as well, giving the Crushers a 3-0 lead.
Washington was able to get on the board in the top of the fifth inning. Joe Sansone started the inning with a double down the line in left. Brian Sharp laid a bunt down to move Sansone to third, and he scored a few moments later on Joe Campagna’s RBI groundout.
The Crushers plated two more big insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Trevor Achenbach reached on a one out single and came around to score two batters later on Steve Passatempo’s RBI single to left. Dunston Jr. would strike again moments later on an opposite field single into left to score Gray.
The Wild Things plated two late runs in the top of the ninth to keep things interesting. Brian Sharp scored on a wild pitch and Campagna scored on Trevor Casanova’s RBI groundout before J.T. Perez struck out Bralin Jackson to end the game.
Robby Rowland (1-0) picked up the victory for the Crushers, allowing just a run on five hits over six strong innings and fanned five in the process. Perez worked two-thirds of the ninth inning to score the save. McNorton took the loss for Washington, allowing three runs on five hits over five innings of work.
Oliver turned in his second two-hit game of the season for the Crushers, going 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs. Gray also turned in a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 and scored twice.
The Crushers will continue their three-game series with the Wild Things at Mercy Health Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Sean Johnson will get the start for the Crushers and the Wild Things will counter with righty Keven Pimentel. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM.