Crushers lead wire to wire in first road win
TROY, N.Y. — The Lake Erie Crushers scored early and often at Joseph. L. Bruno Stadium on Wednesday night as they came away with their first road victory of the season, defeating the Tri-City Valley Cats, 5-3.
The Crushers (3-2) homered two more times in the victory while the loss for Tri-City (3-2) marks the just the second time this season that they’ve been held to three runs or less.
Lake Erie was able to get to work early, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to snag the early lead. Jackson Valera grounded into a 6-3 double play to plate Kenen Irizarry before Bryant Flete belted a solo homer to right, his first of the season.
The Crushers used the long ball to add to their lead in the top of the third, when Jack Harris smashed a solo homer to left, his third of the series and his fourth of the year.
A pair of runs came across for the Crushers in the seventh to give them a 5-0 advantage. Kokko Figueiredo scored the first run on a passed ball and Harris drew a bases loaded walk to score Ermindo Escobar.
Tri-City scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the seventh. Brantley Bell reached on a fielder’s choice to score Willy Garcia before Jesus Lujano belted a two run single to right to bring the Valley Cats within two (5-3).
Things got really interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Valley Cats had the bases loaded with nobody out, but Sam Curtis (1) was able to work his way out of the jam and preserve the victory. He was able to get Denis Phipps to line out to Jarrod Watkins at short before he struck out Juan Silverio and Brad Zunica to end the game.
Lake Erie used five different pitchers on the night to hold the Valley Cats to a trio of runs on seven hits. In his Crusher debut, Joseph Sgambelluri (1-0) scored the victory after going five scoreless innings while allowing just a pair of hits and he struck out six. Curtis slammed the door in the ninth for his first save of the season. Matt Mercer (0-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits over three innings of action.
Harris paced Lake Erie offensively again, with his fourth straight multi-hit game, fourth consecutive multi-RBI game and he’s homered in his last three games as well. Harris went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs. He’s now driven in 11 runs on the season, the most in the league. Flete turned in his first multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-5 with the solo homer in the first.
The Crushers and Valley Cats will finish their three game series at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Thursday morning. Lefty Gunnar Kines (0-0, 4.50) will get the start for the Crushers while the Valley Cats will counter with right-hander Olbis Parra (0-0, 2.25). The first pitch is scheduled for 10:15 AM.