Five in a Row
Lake Erie win streak reaches five in 5-4 win over Gateway
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers erased an early 2-0 deficit to come from behind and defeat the Gateway Grizzlies in their series opener at Mercy Health Stadium on Friday night, with a 5-4 victory.
The Crushers (22-27) have now won five in a row, marking their longest winning streak of the season, while the Grizzlies (25-25) saw a three game winning streak come to an end with the loss.
Gateway struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Three consecutive singles from Andrew Penner, Isaac Benard and Zach Racusin started the game. Penner came home on Racusin’s single to center and Benard came home on Jay Prather’s RBI groundout.
Lake Erie used the long ball to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Jake Gitter endured an eight pitch battle with Carson LaRue (1-2) and won the battle by doubling down the line in right. Seven pitches later, Kemuel Thomas-Rivera smashed a two run homer to right, his second of the season to tie the game at 2-2.
The Crushers benefitted from a two out throwing error to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Connor Owings reached on a two out single to right and made his way to second after Kokko Figueiredo walked. Gitter hit a ground ball to Abdiel Diaz at short, but Diaz’s low throw skipped by Clint Freeman at first base, went into foul territory and allowed Owings to score.
Lake Erie plated two more in the bottom of the fifth. Kenen Irizarry started the inning with a single to right and came around to score on Figueiredo’s RBI single to right. Gitter reached on a fielder’s choice, and and errant throw from second baseman Trevor Achenbach on an attempt at a double play, allowed Owings to score on the play.
The Grizzlies put one last threat together in the top of the eighth inning. Walks were issued to the first three batters of the inning, before Trevor Kuncl was called on in relief and struck out the next two batters. Cam Touchette then delivered a pinch hit two run double down the line in left to score Racusin and Achenbach before Diaz lined out to Thomas-Rivero at second base to end the inning.
Matt Mulhearn (1-2) picked up the win against his former team, allowing just a pair of runs on five hits and struck out six over six innings. Alexis Rivero (6) worked a perfect ninth inning to score the save. LaRue took the loss for Gateway after surrendering five runs, three earned on eight hits over four and a third.
Three Crushers hit safely multiple times on the night. Owings, Jackson Valera and Austin White all turned in two hit performances. Owings has now hit safely in 14 straight games. Thomas-Rivero made a couple of great plays in the field and his homer extended his hitting streak to six games, while White’s two hit performance extended his on base streak to eight games.
The Crushers will continue their three game series with the Grizzlies at Mercy Health Stadium on Saturday evening. Joseph Sgambelluri (5-3, 3.21) will get the start for the Crushers. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM.