Crushers cough up three-run lead; Slammers deliver walk-off infield single
JOLIET, Illinois – After gathering three consecutive victories, the Lake Erie Crushers fell at the hands of the Joliet Slammers Wednesday night. In a quest to finish off the season on a high note, the Men of Crush saw a three-run lead vanish in the late innings.
The scoreboard lit up for the first time in the top of the third inning with a Zach Racusin RBI base knock to score Shawon Dunston Jr. In the fifth, Racusin struck again to allow Eric Callahan to get home safely to give Lake Erie a 2-0 advantage. Racusin went back to the well one last time. He pushed Javier Betancourt home on a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to stretch the lead to three runs.
Lane Baremore and Kyle Jacobsen provided some offense for the Slammers following the seventh-inning stretch. Joliet slashed the Lake Erie lead down to one run entering the final two innings. A couple of base hits in the bottom of the eighth gave the Slammers a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning.
With their backs against the wall, the Crushers found the coveted run they needed to stay alive. Karl Ellison launched a clutch home run to tie the game at 4-4. The joyous dugout for Lake Erie did not remain. Joliet hit an infield single with a runner on third to win the ballgame in the bottom of the ninth in walk-off fashion.
Racusin led the way for the Crushers offensively with three hits and three runs batted in. Dunston, Ellison, and Callahan contributed multi-hit games as well.
Sam Curtis pitched a superb, scoreless six innings of two-hit ball. He sat down six Joliet batters via the strikeout.
Trevor Charpie (4-5) ends as the winner. Charpie gave up the game-tying home run to Ellison in the ninth. J.T. Perez (1-3) exited the stadium as the losing pitcher.
The rubber match is set for Thursday night. The finale between the Crushers and Slammers will get underway at 8:05 pm EST.