Crushers Sweep Slammers
Mulhearn dazzles as Crushers take series finale, 6-2
AVON, Ohio — Lake Erie Crushers starting pitcher Matt Mulhearn took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Thursday night’s game at Mercy Health Stadium as the Crushers swept the Joliet Slammers, taking the series finale, 6-2.
The sweep for the Crushers (25-29) marks their fourth of the season while the loss for the Slammers (26-29) was their seventh in their last nine games.
Matt Mulhearn (2-2) stole the show early on. He retired the first 12 batters he faced and allowed just four Slammers to reach on the night. He took his no-hit bid into the seventh inning where he retired the first two batters, before Matt Burch broke it up with a single to center.
Lake Erie had lots of traffic on the bases early on, but could not cash in until the bottom of the sixth inning, where they scored twice to snap a scoreless tie. Kenen Irizarry walked before Kemuel Thomas-Rivera was hit by a pitch. They both advanced on Austin White’s single to load the bases for Jake Gitter, who walked to bring in the first run of the night. Bryan DeLaRosa drove in the next run on a groundout to give the Crushers a 2-0 lead.
The Crushers were able to add two more in the bottom of the seventh. Connor Owings walked to start the inning and Jackson Valera followed with a single to center. Kokko Figueiredo laid a sacrifice bunt down to advance both base runners and two batters later, Thomas-Rivera delivered a clutch, two out, two run single to center to put the Crushers in front, 4-0.
Lake Erie struck for two more in the bottom of the eighth inning. DeLaRosa started the inning with a walk, and scored moments later when Sean Cheely belted a two run homer to right, his first of the season.
Joliet did not go down quietly. Burch belted a two run double to left field to get the Slammers on the board in the top of the ninth inning. The Slammers had the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate at the end of the game, when Trevor Kuncl (1) struck out Carson Maxwell to secure the win.
Mulhearn picked up the victory after allowing just a hit over seven scoreless innings and struck out two. In his last two starts, he’s allowed just a pair of runs on seven hits over 13 innings of work. Kuncl picked up the save after recording the final two outs of the ninth. Alec Thomas (2-3) took the loss for the Slammers after allowing two runs on three hits through five and a third.
Thomas-Rivera and White led the Lake Erie offense, as they both went 2-for-3, reaching three times in four plate appearances. Thomas Rivera’s two hit performance extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and he finished the home stand with 10 hits (10-for-22). Owings reached on a pair of walks, but went 0-for-3 and saw his 18 game hitting streak come to an end in the process.
The Crushers are back on the road on Friday night, when they begin a three game series with the Windy City Thunderbolts in Crestwood, Illinois. Right-hander Joseph Sgambelluri (5-3, 2.98) will start for the Crushers and the first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.