The Crushers and CornBelters were locked in a close game until a grand slam in the sixth inning
Normal, Ill. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, fall to the Normal CornBelters tonight, 8-2, as the CornBelters hit four home runs and pull away from the Crushers with big sixth and seventh innings.
With the loss, the Crushers (29-34) have now lost four straight games to Normal this season. They fall to 12-11 in July. The win for the CornBelters (31-32) is their sixth win over their previous seven games. They are 27-20 since the month of May.
The CornBelters were the first to put runs on the scoreboard as Elvin Rodriguez hit a solo home run in the third inning, his first of the season, and in the fourth inning, Nolan Meadows hit his 17th home run of the season to left field.
Down by two runs, the Crushers' shortstop, Eric Grabe singled to lead off the sixth inning. He moved to second as Nick Covello bunted him into scoring position. Later in the inning, with two outs, Parker Norris walked and then Bryan De La Rosa ripped a single into left field, scoring a run. Following De Le Rosa, Max Casper walked to load the bases. Connor Oliver then struck out looking to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with Mike Devine (7-4) still on the mound, Santiago Chirino singled into right-center field. He was out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double when Oliver threw a strike from right field to get him. Aaron Dudley walked with one out. Meadows followed with a single and Dillon Haupt walked. Bases were loaded for Craig Lepre and he hammered a Grand Slam home run over the right field fence making it a 6-1 game.
The Crushers would get their final run in the seventh inning. Brendan Costantino walked to start the inning. He would move up a base when JoEric Grabe singled. Costantino went to third base when Eric Grabe hit into a double play and he scored as Sean Hurley singled past the left side of the infield.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Belters would respond, again. With Keegan Ghidotti on the mound, Dudley hit a single to right field and Meadows hit a two-run home run, his second of the game, to right field, putting Normal on top, 8-2.
Devine pitched six innings for the Crushers, taking the loss. He allowed six runs on eight hits. Ghidotti allowed two runs on two hits in an inning of work and Manny Arciniega pitched a scoreless inning.
For the CornBelters, Michael Schweiss (6-4) grabbed the win as he went six innings, allowing four hits and only one run. He walked seven but struck out six Crushers. Casey Brown pitched .2 of an inning allowing a run. Race Parmenter went 1.1 innings striking out three hitters. Max Homick finished the game in the ninth inning.
Barraza and Oliver both had a two hit game at the plate. Meadows has now hit four home runs in four games against the Crushers.
The Crushers will continue this series with the CornBelters at The Corn Crib, on Saturday. Lake Erie's starting pitcher will be right-hander Juan Caballero (0-0, 3.75). The CornBelters will send righty Horatio Acosta (5-2, 3.47) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 PM.