The Crushers plate the only run of the game in the bottom of the 11th inning in walk-off fashion
Avon, OH. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, and the Evansville Otters were locked in a scoreless game before Eric Grabe hit a double in the 11th to score Bryan De La Rosa and give the Crushers a 1-0 win on Friday night.
For the Crushers (18-23), this was their first extra-inning game since May 29 and with the win, they are 3-2 in extra innings games. The Crushers also snapped a four-game losing streak. The loss for the Otters (25-19) ends their three-game winning streak. Evansville is now 1-4 in extra-inning games.
The starting pitchers squared off throughout the night. Todd Kibby started the game for the Crushers and went nine innings, allowing four hits and striking out six Otters. Hunter Ackerman pitched nine scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and struck out seven hitters. However, neither pitcher picked up a decision.
Both teams had limited opportunities because of the outstanding pitching performances.
The Otters had runners in scoring position in the third inning and the 11th inning. In the top of the third inning, the Otters had runners on second and third base with one out. Jeff Gardner reached on an error by Crushers' first baseman, Jose Barraza. The next batter, Julio Rodriguez reached on an error by Crushers' shortstop, Grabe. Both runners moved up a base as Clayton Smithson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Kibby would then get Kaeo Aliviado and Josh Allen to ground out, ending the inning.
In the 11th inning, Gardner began the frame running at second base. The Frontier League rule states that, the runner who ended the 10th inning is placed on second base to begin the 11th inning. Gardner would move to third base on a groundout, but Chandler Jagodzinski (2-1) retired the next two batters and got out of the inning.
The Crushers only experienced runners in scoring position in the first inning and the 11th inning. Brendan Costantino led off the bottom of the first with a single and would move to second base as Justin Byrd was walked. Ackerman then settled down and got Barraza to ground into a fielder's choice, moving Costantino to third base. Sean Hurley then grounded into a double play.
Lake Erie would take advantage in the 11th inning. With De La Rosa at second base, Grabe hit a ball down the line that bounced off the Otters' right fielder, Chris Breen's glove in fair territory. De La Rosa came around to score the winning run.
Jagodzinski picked up the win as he pitched two scoreless innings. He also struck out three batters. Tyler Thompson (3-2) was saddled with the loss as he pitched one inning and allowed an unearned run to score.
Brendan Costantino was the only player to have a multi-hit game, going 2-4 tonight. The win marks the first Crushers' victory under manager, Cam Roth.
The Crushers continue the Red, White and Blue themed weekend at The Freight on Saturday. The Crushers' starting pitcher will be right-hander Steve Hagen (2-2, 1.59). The Otters will counter with righty Felix Baez (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.