Crushers take two from Florence
Lake Erie executes double header sweep
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, won in their final at bat in both ends of Wednesday night’s double header at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium, defeating the Florence Freedom, 6-5 and 3-2.
The Crushers (29-24) have now won three in a row, and four out of their last five, while the Freedom (37-20) have now lost three straight games.
Florence scored in the top of the second inning as Andre Mercurio singled to start the inning, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, and then came home on a wild pitch to give Florence the 1-0 lead.
Lake Erie took a 2-1 lead on a clutch, two out extra base hit in the bottom of the fourth. Zach Racusin was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Dale Burdick then singled, but was thrown out at second as Brody Wofford reached on a fielder’s choice. With runners at the corners and two down, Steven Kraft delivered a two run double down the line in right to plate both Wofford and Racusin.
The Crushers added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Burdick belted a one out single, then stole second base. Florence catcher Ryan Rinsky botched the exchange from his glove hand to his throwing hand, and the ball got away from him, allowing Burdick to get to third. Rinsky’s throw to third in an attempt to nail Burdick ended up in left field, allowing him to score.
The Freedom responded just a half inning later, scoring three times to regain the lead in the top of the seventh. Taylor Bryant, Rinsky and Austin Wobrock started the inning with three straight singles. Connor Crane drove Bryant home on a sacrifice fly out, and Caleb Lopes delivered a clutch, two out, two run single to left to give Florence a 4-3 lead.
Lake Erie came right back to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh. Bryan DeLaRosa started the inning with a single off the wall in left. Kody Ruedisili moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt, and he came around to score on Zach Racusin’s single to right.
Florence once again regained the lead in the top of the ninth. Lopes was hit by a pitch with two outs, and moved to second after Mercurio walked. Ricky Ramirez Jr. then stroked a RBI single to left to score Lopes and give the Freedom a 5-4 lead.
The Crushers used the long ball to tie the game in the ninth and send it into extras. Jonathan Tripp (3-3) retired the first two batters he faced, before Aaron Hill teed off on the first pitch he saw, pummeling his ninth homer of the year over the wall in left field to tie things up at 5-5.
Lake Erie won it in the bottom of the 10th inning. Kraft reached on a one out walk and moved to second on Jake Vieth’s free pass. DeLaRosa then singled to right field, and Kraft was thrown out at home plate on the play. Ruedisili then delivered the game winning RBI infield single to score Vieth.
Dalton Geekie (2-2) picked up the win, retiring the only batter he faced in the top of the 10th inning. Tripp took the loss after allowing a pair of runs on five hits over 1.2 innings of work.
Lake Erie used the long ball to take an early lead in the bottom of the first. Emmanuel Marrero drove the third pitch he saw over the wall in right field for his 10th homerun of the season, giving the Crushers a 1-0 lead.
A bizarre play allowed the Freedom to tie the game in the top of the second. Brandon Pugh bunted a ball softly back to the mound, where Crusher pitcher Paul Hall Jr. fielded it cleanly, but his throw to first hit the baserunner and ended up in foul territory. The speedy Pugh ended up coming all the way around to score on the play.
The Crushers used a little two out magic to regain the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kraft was on second with two outs when Karl Ellison smacked a base hit to center, plating Kraft to give Lake Erie a 2-1 lead.
Florence came right back to tie it in the top of the third. Andre Mercurio stepped in with the bases empty and two outs and blasted his second homer of the year over the wall in right, tying the game at 2-2.
Both teams had chances to score through the rest of the contest, but the next run that came across the plate would decide the game. Burdick became the hero in game two as he ended the contest by smashing his fourth homer of the year over the wall in left, cementing Lake Erie’s 3-2 victory in the bottom of the eighth.
Kent Hasler (3-2) earned the victory for the Crushers, tossing 3.1 innings of scoreless one hit relief. Joe Mortillaro (1-3) took the loss after surrendering the walk off homer to Burdick in the eighth. Paul Hall Jr. pitched well in his Crusher debut, allowing two runs, only one earned and struck out seven over 4.2 innings of work.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Freedom at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Thursday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.