Mulhearn Thrives Again in 9-1 win
Crushers score early and often as Mulhearn rolls in 9-1 victory
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers scored six of their nine runs in the first three innings of Wednesday night’s game at Mercy Health Stadium while Matt Mulhearn turned in another strong pitching performance as the Crushers rolled the Windy City Thunderbolts, 9-1.
The Crushers (44-42) have won five in a row at home, and are two games over .500 for the first time this season while the loss for Windy City (31-54) was their sixth in eight games against the Crushers this season.
While the Lake Erie offense hammered out nine runs on nine hits, Matt Mulhearn (6-3) turned in another outstanding performance. He allowed just a run on four hits over seven innings of work and struck out six batters to pick up his third straight victory. Over his last three starts, the Crushers are 3-0. During that stretch, he’s pitching 21 and a third innings, allowed just three earned runs on 14 hits while striking out 22 batters.
Connor Owings began the bottom of the first with a six pitch walk, made his way to third on Kemuel Thomas-Rivera’s single to right and he scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly from Jackson Valera. Kenen Irizarry followed Valera with a RBI single to center to give Lake Erie a 2-0 lead.
Two more came across for the Crushers in the bottom of the second. Najee Gakins drew a lead off walk, Kokko Figueiredo reached on a one out free pass and they both scored on Owing’s two run single to right.
Windy City was able to get on the board in the top of the third. After Mulhearn retired the first six batters he faced, Kole Kaler started the third inning with a walk before Jonathan Nieves singled to right to put Kaler on third. Jalen Greer responded with a sacrifice fly to score Kaler.
Lake Erie responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Irizarry doubled to left center to start the inning and scored on DJ Stewart’s RBI single to right. Stewart came home later in the third on a Najee Gaskins RBI double to right field.
The Crushers removed any doubt by scoring three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Figueiredo reached on a one out walk and Owings followed with a double. An errant relay throw from Brian Klein at second allowed Figueiredo to score on the play. Later in the inning with runners on second and third and one out, Valera reached on a throwing error from the shortstop Kaler, which allowed the final two runs of the inning to score.
In addition to Mulhearn’s terrific performance, Kyle Seebach and Trevor Kuncl both tossed scoreless innings in relief. Windy City’s Jack Alkire (0-3) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings of work.
All but three Crushers reached safely on the night. Owings led the way with his second three hit performance of the series, going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and two RBI as well. Irizarry and DJ Stewart both hit safely twice on the night as well. Figueiredo walked two times to extend his on base streak to 16 games.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Thunderbolts at Mercy Health Stadium on Thursday night. Right-hander Jay Alvarez (5-5, 5.34) will start for the Crushers and the first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM.