Friday, July 13, 2012
O’FALLON, Mo. – The Lake Erie Crushers used a trio of homeruns from Russ Moldenhauer, Jason Taylor and Andrew Davis to push their way past the River City Rascals, 7-5, at T.R. Hughes Ballpark on Friday night.
The victory for the Crushers (26-23) marks their fifth consecutive victory in a series opener, while the loss for the Rascals (26-23) leaves them winless in four tries against the Crushers this season.
River City starting pitcher Nick Kennedy (4-2) retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the first inning, before walking Jason Taylor. Two pitches later, Russ Moldenhauer belted a two-run shot, his fifth of the season to put the Crushers ahead.
The Crushers tagged Kennedy two more times in the top of the third. Adrian Ortiz started the inning with a double, and trotted home moments later on Taylor’s two-run bomb to right center. Taylor’s homer was his seventh of the season, and two batters later, Andrew Davis hit a solo shot, his fourth.
The Rascals got on the board in the fourth inning. Curran Redal started the inning with a base hit, and made his way to second when Doug Sanders was hit by a pitch. Charlie Lisk followed with a single to right field. On the play, Robby Kuzdale’s errant throw to third base, ended up in foul territory, and allowed Redal to score. With runners at the corners and one away, Josh Workman hit a ball to short that was too hot for Davis to handle, and the error allowed Sanders to score.
Lake Erie capitalized on a Lisk’s second throwing error of the night, with two down in the fifth inning. The bases were loaded when Kuzdale hit a slow roller down the third base line. Lisk charged in, and made a barehanded pickup, but his throw sailed into the seats, allowing two runs to score.
River City inched closer with single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth. Jason Patton’s pinch hit double scored Jeremy Synan with two outs in the sixth, and Lisk belted a two out run scoring single in the seventh.
In the ninth, Sanders was plunked by another pitch, and scored on a two out single from Synan. Jonathan Kountis (11) then walked Workman, putting the tying runs on base, before striking out Chris Andreas to seal the deal.
Trevor Longfellow (5-2) tossed 5.2 innings, and allowed three runs on seven hits, while fanning four to secure the victory. Kountis allowed a run on a hit with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth to get the save. Kennedy was tagged for seven runs, five earned, on seven hits over five innings and suffered the loss.
Eight out of Lake Erie’s starting nine hit safely at least once, with three players (Taylor, Moldenhauer and Kellen Kulbacki) hitting safely twice. Taylor went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, and has now reached in 33 consecutive games.
The Crushers will continue their series against the River City Rascals at T.R. Hughes Ballpark on Saturday night. Left hander Paul Fagan (4-3, 2.75) will start for the Crushers, and the Rascals will counter with right hander Preston Vancil (2-5, 3.60). The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.
by Andy Barch