Thursday, August 09, 2012
Sweep stopped in slugfest
SAUGET, Ill. – The Gateway Grizzlies scored five times in the first inning of Thursday evening’s contest at GCS Ballpark, and prevented a Lake Erie sweep, with a 9-7 victory in the series finale.
The Crushers (42-33) out-hit the Grizzlies, 13-10 on the night, but fell for the third time on their six game road trip. The victory for the Grizzlies (44-31) marks their fourth in six games against the Crushers this season.
Gateway took advantage of three walks, and belted two bombs in the bottom of the first inning to build their lead. Lake Erie starting pitcher Josh Hungerman (0-1) exited the contest after two-thirds of the first inning. Rogelio Noris smashed a two-run homer to put the Grizzlies on the board and John Shelby capped the inning with a three-run blast.
The Grizzlies used the long ball to take their largest lead of the night, when Jerod Yakubik smashed a solo homer in the bottom of the third, giving Gateway a 6-0 advantage.
The Crushers battled back, and cut the deficit in half in the fourth inning. J.C. Figueroa and Jason Taylor stroked back-to-back one out singles, setting up Andrew Davis’s first of two homeruns on the night. The three-run shot was Davis’s 10th of the season.
The Grizzlies would score another one in the bottom of the fifth inning, on a two out RBI double from Elyria, Ohio, native, Antone DeJesus.
Davis went deep again, as he began the sixth inning with a solo homerun, giving him 11 on the year, and five on the current trip. Daniel Bowman belted a one out single, which was followed by Robby Kuzdale’s double, and Bowman scored moments later on Wally Correa’s sacrifice fly.
The long ball produced the final two runs of the night for the Grizzlies in the bottom of the sixth inning. Travis Riser retired the first two batters of the inning, before hitting Noris with a 3-2 pitch, and then surrendered a two-run homer to Jon Myers.
Davis struck again for the Crushers in the seventh inning. He drove in his fifth run of the contest with a two out RBI single in the seventh, and the Crushers plated their final run of the game on Kuzdale’s RBI triple in the eighth.
Tim Brown (9-2) entered with the second best ERA in the Frontier League (2.08), and was tagged for five runs on 11 hits over five innings, but did enough to score the victory. Richard Barrett (11) worked a perfect ninth inning to score the save. Hungerman was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on three hits, with three walks over two-thirds of the first inning.
After hitting just .111 over the first four games of the road trip, the Crushers scored 16 runs on 27 hits over the last two nights of the roadie. Davis led the way offensively, going 4-for-5 with two singles, two homers, and five RBIs. Davis hit .476 (10-for-21) over the six game trip, with five runs and 10 RBIs.
Figueroa, Taylor, Kuzdale and Bowman hit safely multiple times as well. Figueroa went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles, while Taylor went 2-for-4 with a pair of base hits and scored twice. Bowman reached three times on two singles and a walk, while Kuzdale went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. Kuzdale hit .700 (7-for-10) in the series with four runs and three RBIs.
The Crushers will begin a three game series with the Florence Freedom at All Pro Freight Stadium on Friday night. Right hander Eric Gonzalez-Diaz (6-6, 4.19) will start for the Crushers, and the Grizzlies will counter with left hander Brent Choban (0-1, 4.50). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
by Andy Barch