August 13, 2023
FLORENCE, KY – The Lake Erie Crushers gave up runs late in losing to the Florence Y’alls today, falling by a final score of 5-3.
After outsourcing the Y’alls (33-45) 20-8 in the first two games of the series, the Crushers (31-47) could only score three runs this afternoon. They were slow out of the gates, but a surge came in the eighth inning which made things interesting – however, it was not enough.
Florence took their first lead of the series after striking first blood in the second inning. With runners on first and second, a two-RBI double from Jeremiah Burks made it 2-0. The Y’alls tacked on one more in the frame with a Lane Hoover base knock to score Burks.
Lake Erie answered in the third. Sean Cheely led the frame off with a double and after he was moved to third Zach Racusin hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Both offenses fell silent in the eighth inning, but the plot thickened when Lake Erie tied the game.
With runners at the corners, Racusin laced an RBI single through the right side. Three batters later with the bases loaded, Hector Roa hit an infield single to score Jiandido Tromp. Racusin on the play tried to move from second to home as the ball got away from the third baseman Brian Fuentes but was gunned down at the plate by the second baseman Burks. Jarrod Watkins ended the inning in the next at-bat with a fly out to deep center field.
Trevor Kuncl, in his third inning of relief, was called upon to keep the game tied in the bottom of the inning. He loaded the bases with nobody out, then made an excellent play at the plate with a glove flick to home which got Ed Johnson out on a ground ball comebacker.
But the bases were still juiced, and Kuncl walked in the next run to give Florence a 4-3 lead. The next batter flew out to center to score another run and the Y’alls had all the momentum heading into the final inning.
They slammed the door on Lake Erie, setting them down in order to finish the contest, and Florence spoiled what would have been Lake Erie’s first sweep on the road this season.
The winning pitcher was Brain McKenna (2-2) who came into pitch in the eighth after Kent Klyman started the frame and was charged both runs in the inning after not being able to get an out. McKenna threw 2.0 full innings, giving up just a hit and striking out two.
The loss was served up to Trevor Kuncl (0-5) who went 3.0 innings giving up a pair of runs on two hits and four walks with one strikeout. It ended up being a bullpen day for the Crushers as the starter Shane Gustafson could only go 2.0 innings in his Lake Erie debut. He allowed three runs on three hits with a pair of walks and one punchout.
The Crushers totaled seven knocks during the matinee. Sean Cheely had the only multi-hit performance, out of the nine-hole. He scored twice.
Lake Erie will head back home and have an off day tomorrow before enduring a tough week of baseball. They first face the Schaumburg Boomers before taking on the Gateway Grizzlies. The first pitch of their six-game homestand will begin on Tuesday at 7:05 PM ET.