Crushers hold Riverhawks to three hits in 2-1 victory
AVON, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers won in their final at bat for the fourth time on their current home stand, taking the series opener at All Pro Freight Stadium on Tuesday night in a 12-inning thriller, on Wally Correa’s two out single to score Andrew Davis.
The victory for the Crushers (37-30) was their second in a row, and increased their record to 5-3 in extra inning games this season. The loss for Rockford (30-37) was their third in their last four games.
Pitching dominated the entire contest, as both starting pitchers allowed a run through eight innings. Eric Gonzalez-Diaz turned in his finest start of the season, allowing just a run on just a hit with a walk and five strikeouts, while his counterpart, Drew Rucinski, turned in a similar line for Rockford, allowing just a run on two hits with five strikeouts.
The Crushers plated the first run of the game, in the bottom of the first inning. J.C. Figueroa stroked a one out single and stole second base before scoring the game’s first run on a two out double from Russ Moldenhauer.
Gonzalez-Diaz retired the first nine batters he faced, before issuing a leadoff walk to Ted Obregon in the top of the fourth inning. Obregon advanced to second on Brandon Anderson’s sacrifice bunt, and made his way third on a passed ball before scoring on Javier Herrera’s groundout.
Both teams had chances to score late in the game. The Riverhawks left a runner stranded in scoring position in innings 9-11, and had at least one base runner in all three extra frames.
The Crushers had runners on second and third in innings 10 and 11, but could not push the winning run across in until the 12th. Davis doubled with one out in the 10th inning, and eventually got to third on a wild pitch but the inning ended when Garrett Granitz struck out Brian Erie. A balk advanced Robby Kuzdale to third with two outs in the 11th, but Jordan Goldschmidt (0-1) retired Moldenhauer on a fly out to left to end the inning.
Davis started the 12th inning with a base hit. Goldschmidt retired the next two batters, before Erie moved Davis to third base on a base hit to right center. The Crushers had runners at the corners with two out, when Wally Correa sent Goldschmidt’s 2-2 pitch down the third base line for the game winning single.
Jonathan Kountis (4-2) earned the victory for the second night in a row, tossing an inning and a third, and allowed no runs and no hits. The combination of Gonzalez-Diaz, Kountis and Mickey Jannis held the Riverhawks to just three hits on the night. Goldschmidt took the loss, allowing a run on three hits over 1.2 innings of relief.
The walk off victory was Lake Erie’s fourth of the current home stand, and their fifth of the season. Davis was the only player in the game to hit safely more than once, going 2-for-5 with both hits coming after the ninth inning.
The Crushers will continue their three game series with the Rockford Riverhawks at All Pro Freight Stadium on Wednesday morning. Right hander Patrick Arnold (0-0, 2.40) will start for the Crushers, and the Riverhawks will counter with left hander Ziggie VanderWall (5-4, 5.43). The first pitch is scheduled for 11:05 AM.
by Andy Barch
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All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011