AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, were shutout and dominated by Evansville’s pitching staff all game long and lost the second game of the series 1-0 to drop the series.
The Crushers (38-34) are now 19-18 on the road this season with the loss. While the Otters (41-32) improve to 6-5 against Lake Erie this season.
The starting pitchers tonight for both teams pitched amazingly. Sam Curtis started his first game for Lake Erie this season after he started his summer with the Napa Silverados. Curtis turned in a great final line in his start. He gave up no runs, surrendered only three hits, walked three and struck out five over 5.2 innings. Austin Nicely also pitched a gem for Evansville. Nicely threw 6.0 innings where he gave up no runs, five hits, walked two and struck out six.
Kent Hasler (5-4) got the loss for the Crushers tonight as he gave up the only run of the game in the bottom of the eighth. Drew Beyer (1-2) picked up his first win of the season as he threw a scoreless two innings in relief. And Taylor Wright (11) earned the save as he shut the door on the Crushers in the ninth for the second night in a row.
Curtis shutdown one of the best offenses in the entire Frontier League for his entire outing. The Otters potent lineup did not get a hit off Curtis until the third and had only two base runners in scoring position against him. The only real jam Curtis faced was self-induced.
In the bottom of the third with two outs, Curtis hit David Cronin with a pitch. Keith Grieshaber then stroked a single to advance Cronin to third and put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. But on the very next batter, Curtis got Ryan Long to fly out on the first pitch of the at-bat to get out of the inning.
Evansville had another opportunity to score in the fifth inning but failed to do so. Dakota Phillips hit a one out double off Curtis to put himself into scoring position. But that did not bother Curtis, as he struck out the next batter looking and then got Cronin to fly out in foul territory to end the inning. Other than those two chances, Curtis dominated the Otters offense.
The Crushers also had only two chances to score in this one. But they spoiled a golden opportunity in the third inning. Bryan De La Rosa led off the inning with the double to get things rolling. Nicely was able to get the next two batters out quickly but then walked Steven Kraft and hit Emmanuel Marrero with a pitch to load the bases. With two out and the bases juiced, Dale Burdick drew out a five pitch at-bat but could not get the run across as he flew out to left to end the inning.
In the fifth, Lake Erie had a small chance to score again but could not capitalize. Kraft hit a two out single off Nicely and then stole second to put himself into scoring position. With the runner on second, Marrero stepped up but could not get a base hit to score Kraft and grounded out to end the inning.
The only run of the game came in the eighth inning. Kent Hasler got two quick outs to start the inning but walked Keith Grieshaber. Then stepped in the Otters RBI King and arguably their best hitter Ryan Long. Evansville executed a perfect hit and run to score Grieshaber from first. Long smacked an RBI double into left centerfield and the rest was history.
The Crushers will finish their three-game series with the Evansville Otters on Thursday at Bosse Field. The Crushers will go with lefty Jake Repavich (4-4, 4.92) on the mound. While the Otters will have right-hander Tyler Beardsley (6-3, 2.82) on the mound.
The Lake Erie Crushers, the 2009 Frontier League Champions, and 2011 Frontier League Organization of the year, play ball at Sprenger Health Care Stadium, a 5,000 capacity stadium located in Avon, Ohio. The Frontier League is an independent baseball league with 10 teams operating throughout the Midwest. For more information on tickets, promotions and team news, visit the team website at www.LakeErieCrushers.com or call 440-934-3636.