The wild pitch came on the first pitch, in an attempt to intentionally walk Chase Burch, as the Crushers (11-15) lost for just the fifth time in their last 14 games at Wuerfel Park, while the win for the Beach Bums (16-10) puts them back into first place in the Frontier League’s Eastern Division.
The attempt at the intentional walk was set up by a pair of hits to start the 12th inning. Colligan ripped a double to the gap in left center field, and advanced to third on Jose Vargas’s base hit. With runners at the corners and nobody out, the Crushers decided to intentionally walk Chase Burch to load the bases, but Travis Risser’s (0-1) first pitch sailed over catcher Brian Erie, and went to the backstop, allowing Colligan to score.
Lake Erie was red hot to start the contest, scoring three times on four hits in the top of the first inning. Adrian Ortiz stroked a double down the left field line, and Robbie Kuzdale followed with a walk, setting up Andrew Davis’s two-run double down the right field line. Davis came home later in the first on Kyle Weldon’s two-out single to left.
The 3-0 lead held until the Beach Bums scored their first run, on their first hit off of Eric Gonzalez-Diaz. Gonzalez-Diaz worked five no-hit innings, before Sean Gusrang led off the bottom of the sixth inning with his fourth homer of the season.
The Beach Bums then scored twice in the seventh to tie the game. The bases were loaded with one out, when Gusrang struck again with a run scoring single, and Kyle Eveland followed with an RBI groundout to tie the game at 3-3.
It was a wild pitch that gave the Beach Bums their first lead of the night. Vargas and Burch began the eighth inning with back-to-back base hits. Jeff Flagg was at the plate with runners at the corners, when Jonathan Kountis’s wild pitch scored Vargas from third.
The Crushers extended the contest in the top of the ninth. The bases were empty with one out, when Wally Correa smashed his first homerun of the season, to tie the game at 4 apiece.
Risser tossed one full inning of work and allowed a run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts in a losing effort. Gonzalez-Diaz gave the Crushers 6.1 strong innings of action, allowing three runs, two earned on three hits with three strikeouts. Sam Brown (1-1) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to get the win.
Correa’s homerun in the ninth was his third hit of the contest. He went 3-for-5, and has hit safely five times in the series. Russ Moldenhauer also hit safely three times in a 3-for-6 performance, while Ortiz extended his hitting streak to eight games in a 2-for-5 performance. Kuzdale reached twice, and has now reached in 14 consecutive games.
The Crushers will finish their three game series against the Traverse City Beach Bums at Wuerfel Park on Saturday night. Left hander Josh Rickards (1-0, 5.12) will start for the Crushers, and the Beach Bums will counter with left hander Bennett Whitmore (1-1, 3.72). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.\
by Andy Barch
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011