Late Rally Falls short
Crushers rally for three in the ninth but fall to Otters, 7-3
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, came up empty on a pair of early threats to score over the first two innings of Saturday night’s game at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium and fell to the Evansville Otters, 7-3.
The loss for the Crushers (18-17) marked just the second time in nine games that they lost a contest decided by three runs or more, while the win for the Otters (21-16) was their fourth in their last six games.
Lake Erie wasted a pair of golden opportunities to score in the early stages of the game. They left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, and then stranded a pair of base runners in the home half of the second.
After dodging those bullets, Evansville struck for a trio of runs in the top of the third. Mike Rizzitello started the inning with a double to left before Dylan Mouzakes (2-3) walked JJ Gould. David Cronin’s sacrifice bunt moved both base runners before Keith Grieshaber drove Rizzitello home on a sacrifice fly out to right. Gould scored later in the inning on a wild pitch with Ryan Long at the plate. Long would double a few pitches later before stealing third, and scoring on an errant throw from catcher Bryan DeLaRosa.
The Otters added two more with another two out hit in the top of the fourth. Carlos Castro reached on a one out single to right before Hunter Cullen reached on first baseman Jake Vieth’s error. Two batters later, Gould belted the ninth pitch of his at bat into center field for a two run single to plate Castro and Cullen, giving the Otters a 5-0 lead.
Evansville removed any doubt by plating two more runs in the top of the ninth. Cullen reached on a one out double to right, and came around to score on Gould’s RBI single to left. Gould would touch home plate a few pitches later on Cronin’s RBI double down the line in left.
The Lake Erie offense was limited to just one hit, and only two base runners from the third through the end of the eighth, before they plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Vieth and Emmanuel Marrero started the inning with back-to-back base hits and they both scored on Aaron Hill’s two run double to right. Hill scored the final run of the night on Bodie Bryan’s RBI single to right.
Austin Nicely (1-4) tossed seven scoreless innings of three hit ball to pick up the win for Evansville. Mouzakes took the loss after allowing five runs, only two earned on six hits while fanning six batters over five innings of work.
Eight out of the starting nine reached safely at least once for the Crushers. Hill led the way, going 2-for-4 on the night. Marrero went 1-for-3 and has now reached safely in 12 straight games.
The Crushers will finish their three-game series against the Evansville Otters at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Alex Romero (2-0, 2.88) will start for the Crushers and the Otters will counter with right-hander Jake Welch (2-1, 3.16). The first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM.