Last half of Lake Erie order registers 11 hits in 5-2 victory
AVON, Ohio – The final four batters in the Lake Erie batting order belted 11 of the Crushers’ 14 hits at All Pro Freight Stadium on Friday evening, as the Crushers won their seventh home game in a row, in a 5-2 victory over the Southern Illinois Miners.
With the victory, the Crushers (25-21) have now won five in a row, and nine out of their last ten overall while the Miners (27-19) saw their three game winning streak come to an end with the loss.
Batters 6-9 in the Lake Erie batting order, Daniel Bowman, Brian Erie, J.C. Figueroa and Brandon Decker went 11-for-15 combined, reached 12 times in 16 plate appearances and were responsible for all five of Lake Erie’s runs.
The two teams failed to score over the first three innings, before trading two run blows in the fourth.
Southern Illinois struck first, getting three consecutive hits to start the fourth. Jake Kaase began the inning with a single, and Chad Maddox followed with a double. Carlos Mendez drove Kaase home on a base hit, and Maddox scored on Ken Gregory’s groundout.
The Crushers answered in the next half inning. Bowman and Erie stroked back-to-back one out base hits, and Figueroa followed by belting a double to the gap in right center, scoring Bowman and Erie in the process to tie the game.
The bottom of the order struck again in the sixth inning to take the lead. Bowman was issued a one out free pass, before Erie rocked a double to the gap in right center to score Bowman and put the Crushers ahead, 3-2.
Lake Erie added two more insurance runs in the last half of the eighth inning. Bowman belted a one out double, and came home moments later on Erie’s single. Erie’s base hit went to right field, and was mishandled by Maddox, which allowed Erie to get to third. Decker brought Erie in moments later on a single to right.
The Miners threatened in the ninth. After Jonathan Kountis struck out Gregory to begin the inning, he issued back-to-back walks to Will Block and Jason Ganek. Kountis recovered, and retired the final two batters to seal the deal.
Alex Loftin (3-0) allowed just a pair of runs on four hits while fanning five over six strong innings to secure his third victory of the season. Travis Risser tossed a pair of scoreless innings of relief to preserve the lead, before Kountis (10) snagged his second save in as many nights. Brian Fowler (3-4) allowed three runs on 10 hits over six innings and took the loss.
Six out of the starting nine hit safely for the Crushers, with five batters hitting safely multiple times. Erie paced the Crushers with an incredible, 4-for-4 performance. Bowman hit safely three times, going 3-for-3 with a trio of runs scored, while Figueroa, Decker and Kuzdale all hit safely twice. Jason Taylor reached twice, and extended his on base streak to 30 games in the process. Figueroa has now reached in 14 consecutive games.
The Crushers will continue their three game series against the Southern Illinois Miners at All Pro Freight Stadium on Saturday night. Left hander Josh Rickards (2-1, 4.59) will start for the Crushers and the Miners will counter with right hander Cody Hall (2-0, 2.61). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
by Andy Barch
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011