AVON, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers fell to the Joliet Slammers by a score of 4-1 Friday night. In their first game back from a nine-game road trip, the Crushers were welcomed back home with a packed Mercy Health Stadium.
Lake Erie did not start with its best game. A sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning from Patrick Causa gave the visitors the early advantage.
The Crushers retaliated with a sacrifice fly of their own in the bottom of the first. Trevor Achenbach scored Zack Gray on the sacrifice.
Injuries piled up for the Crushers in the contest. Shawon Dunston Jr. left the ballgame in the bottom of the first after sliding awkwardly into second base on a stolen base attempt. Then, a speculated lower-body injury occurred to Javier Betancourt while trying to beat out a play at first base. Betancourt was replaced by Steve Passatempo.
Fast forward to the top of the fourth inning as Braxton Davidson pounded a home run to right-center field. The Slammers grabbed the 2-1 lead at that point of the game.
The Crushers’ best chance to pounce was witnessed in the bottom of the sixth inning. Lake Erie failed to score any runs after having men on second and third with no outs. The lack of offensive production led to frustrated body language by the home team.
The starting pitching was great on both sides. Lake Erie’s Sean Johnson went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Johnson’s counterpart, Kipp Rollings, threw a gem on the mound in the series opener. Rollings accomplished seven innings of work, where he surrendered only one run on three hits.
Lake Erie manager Dan Rohn was ejected from the game in a sequence later on in the evening. However, he had much to say after disagreeing with multiple calls by home plate umpire Nicholas Saxton.
Davidson torched another homer that deflected off of the flag pole in center field in the eighth inning. The score advanced to 4-1 Slammers and would prove to be the final tally.
Johnson was the losing pitcher due to not receiving much offensive help. Rollings’ winning effort advanced the Slammers to a 7-7 record. The defeat drops Lake Erie to 5-9.
The Crushers managed only three hits on the night. All three hits were doubles. Two came off the bat of Connor Oliver. The last two-bagger was launched off the lumber of Steven Kraft.
Rohn and his staff will now have to figure out a game plan if the injuries to Dunston Jr. and Betancourt are long-term.
Game two of the series will take place Saturday evening at Mercy Health Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05.