Bottom of the Lake Erie order produces nine hits in Crushers victory
AVON, Ohio – The bottom third of Lake Erie’s batting order went a combined 9-for-11, with six runs scored and two RBIs on Friday night, as the Crushers slugged their way to a 13-2 victory over the Evansville Otters at All Pro Freight Stadium.
For the Crushers, (34-35) the victory was their fourth in a row, and their sixth in their last seven games, while the loss for Evansville (26-44) was their second in their last three games.
While Evan Sharpley, Brian Erie, and Robby Kuzdale at the bottom of the Lake Erie order did a ton of damage, it was a collective effort for the Crushers, as they pounded out 17 hits, and scored early and often to pull away.
Andrew Davis drove in his first of four runs on the night in the bottom of the first inning, driving Patrick Norris home on a sacrifice fly. Erie and Kuzdale went back-to-back with RBI singles in the bottom of the second inning to give the Crushers a 3-0 lead. Jason Taylor belted a solo homerun in the third inning, his fourth of the year, and the Crushers went up 5-0 in the fourth when Jereme Milons reached on a fielder’s choice which allowed Sharpley to score.
The Crushers added three more runs in the sixth inning. Erie, Kuzdale, and Milons began the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases. Norris’s sacrifice fly scored Erie, before Davis drove in the next run on a base hit and Milons came home after Taylor reached on a fielder’s choice.
Evansville scored their only two runs of the night in the top of the seventh inning. Phil Britton stroked a one out double, and scored moments later on a two-bagger from Steve Caseres. Bryson Rahier drove Caseres home on an RBI single to plate Evansville’s final run of the night.
Lake Erie put the game out of reach by scoring five times in the seventh inning. Sharpley started the inning with a base hit, before Erie and Kuzdale were both issued walks to load the bases. Milons then walked to bring in the first run, and Davis singled in the next two, before Taylor smashed an RBI double and Kellen Kulbacki’s groundout plated the final run of the evening.
Paul Fagan (5-9) scored the victory after allowing just a pair of runs on seven hits over seven innings of action. Paul Daniels and Robert Wendzicki also tossed scoreless innings in relief. Matt Zielinski (1-1) took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits over five innings of action.
Five players hit safely multiple times for the Crushers, including Erie, who paced the Crushers offensively by going 4-for-4, and reached in all five plate appearances. Kuzdale went 3-for-4 and scored twice, while Davis went 3-for-4 as well with four RBIs. Sharpley and Taylor both hit safely twice, while Sharpley scored a pair of runs and Taylor knocked in three.
The Crushers are now just a game and a half behind the Traverse City Beach Bums for the final playoff spot in the Frontier League’s Eastern Division.
The Crushers will continue their three game series against the Evansville Otters at All Pro Freight Stadium on Saturday night. Left hander Randy Sturgill (5-1, 2.87) will start for the Crushers, and the Otters will counter with right hander Kyle Barry (2-5, 5.10).The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
by Andy Barch
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011