FLORENCE, Ky. –
Sunday, July 01, 2012
The Lake Erie Crushers split their double header with the Florence Freedom on Sunday afternoon, falling 6-5 in extra innings in game one, and won in extra frames, 5-1 in game two on Brian Erie’s eighth inning grand slam.
With the split, the Crushers (21-21) have secured their sixth series victory on the road this season, while the split for the Freedom (23-19) evens their record to 3-3 with the Crushers on the year.
The two games were scheduled for seven innings, but it took nine innings to complete the first contest, and eight to wrap up game two. Lake Erie used a big three run comeback in the seventh inning to force extra innings in game one.
The Crushers started the game with back-to-back hits from Adrian Ortiz and Robby Kuzdale. Ortiz kicked it off with a single, and scored on Kuzdale’s triple to right center. After Kuzdale’s triple, Florence starter Sean Gregory retired nine in a row.
Florence plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Peter Fatse began the inning with his first of two triples in the contest, and scored on John Malloy’s sacrifice fly. Drew Rundle gave the Freedom the lead with a two out RBI double.
Florence added two more in the third inning. Junior Arrojo was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and would get plunked two more times in the contest. Arrojo scored on a passed ball, and Fatse’s second triple plated Chris Curley to cap the inning.
Jason Taylor was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning, and came home moments later on Russ Moldenhauer’s double. The two-bagger was his third of the series, and his 17th of the season.
Malloy struck again for the Freedom in the fifth inning with a run scoring double to give the Freedom a 5-2 lead, before the Crushers rally in the seventh.
The seventh inning began with a walk issued to Kellen Kulbacki. Rich Witten was issued a one out free pass to move Kulbacki to second, forcing Florence manager Fran Riordan to call on Jose Velazquez. Velazquez surrendered four straight singles. Kyle Weldon’s base hit loaded the bases for Ortiz, who stroked an RBI single to left field. Kuzdale followed with a base hit to bring in the second run, and Jason Taylor tied the game with a run scoring single.
The Freedom came away with a walk off victory in the ninth. Curley was hit by the first pitch of the inning, and made his way to third on Fatse’s single to right. Jonathan Kountis (1-2) then walked Eddie Rodriguez to load the bases. With the infield in, Malloy hit a chopper over JC Figueroa at second base to plate the game winning run.
Kountis suffered the loss in game one, allowing just the run on three hits with a walk over two innings of action. Florence’s Brennan Flick (4-0) allowed no runs on a hit over 2.1 innings of relief.
Brad Duffy started the second game for the Crushers, and didn’t surrender any hits until the fourth fifth inning. His counterpart, Daniel DeSimone (2-4) retired 13 batters in a row at one point, until he hit a snag in the sixth.
Brandon Decker began the sixth inning with a base hit, and moved to second on a wild pitch, before scoring the game’s first run on Wally Correa’s RBI single.
The Crushers held that 1-0 lead, until the Freedom tied the game with two outs in the seventh. Drew Rundle stroked a double to the gap in left center, and scored the game tying run on Pierre LePage’s single to shallow center.
In the eighth, Daniel Bowman was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and made his way to second on Kyle Weldon’s base hit. Decker followed with a bunt base hit, loading the bases for Brian Erie. Brandon Mathes fell behind Erie, 2-0, before Erie smashed his first homerun of the season to clear the bases. The grand slam was Lake Erie’s first of the year.
Travis Risser (2-1) earned the victory, allowing a run on three hits over 2.1 innings of relief with a walk and a strikeout. DeSimone took the loss, after allowing four runs on six hits over seven strong innings.
Ortiz and Kuzdale both paced the Crushers offensively with three hits during the twin bill. Moldenhauer reached in the first contest, but was kept off the bases in game two, bringing his 21 game on base streak to an end. Jason
Taylor’s single in game one, extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and his on base streak to 26.
The Crushers are off on Monday, but will begin a three game series against the London Rippers at All Pro Freight Stadium on Tuesday night. Left hander Paul Fagan (3-3, 2.75) will start for the Crushers. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
by Andy Barch