Connor Owings’s Grand Slam pushes Crushers past Greys in series opener
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers came from behind twice on Friday night at Mercy Health Stadium and took the series opener from the Empire State Greys, 8-6.
The victory for the Crushers (6-7) marks their second straight in a series opener while the loss for the Greys (0-13) still leaves them in searching for their first win of the season.
Lake Erie fired the first shot in the bottom of the first inning. Kenen Irizarry started the inning with a double down the line in left and came around to score on Jared Mang’s two out RBI single to right.
The Greys battled all night long, and took their first lead with a trio of runs in the top of the second. The first four batters of the inning reached safely, and Tyler Hill knocked in the first run with a RBI single. Liam McArthur drove the second run home on an infield single with the bases loaded, before Brock Begue plunked Jose Mercado with the bases loaded to plate the next run.
Lake Erie was able to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Mang and Jarrod Watkins stroked back-to-back one out singles, and Kokko Figueiredo followed with a RBI double down the line in right. Danny Perez brought in the tying run moments later on a sacrifice fly.
Empire State put together a two out rally in the top of the sixth inning to score three more runs and took at 6-3 lead. The Greys hit five straight two out hits, and John Benevolent drove in the first run on a single to the left side of the infield. Hill followed with his second RBI base hit of the night and Zach Sullivan doubled home the final run of the inning.
The Crushers sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning and scored five times to take the lead for good. Figueiredo drove in the first run on a RBI groundout before Perez walked and Ermindo Escobar was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Connor Owings. Owings responded by going the opposite way to blast his first homer of the season over the wall in left, a Grand Slam that put the Crushers in the driver’s seat for good, 8-6.
Merrick Crouse (1-1) picked up the victory in relief for the Crushers, tossing a scoreless sixth inning. Sam Curtis (2) scored the save after fanning two batters in a scoreless ninth inning of work. Thomas Derer (0-2) took the loss after allowing eight runs, six earned on seven hits over six innings of work.
Owings, Figueiredo and Mang led the Crushers with two hits each. Figueiredo has now reached safely in 13 straight games this season, and he’s reached multiple times in 11 of those games.
The Crushers and Greys will continue their series at Mercy Health Stadium on Saturday night. Right-hander Jay Alvarez (0-0, 7.27) will get the start for the Crushers. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM.