Crushers winning streak reaches six
Crushers outlast Wild Things, 9-6 in 13 innings
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WASHINGTON, Pa. -- The Lake Erie Crushers won their sixth straight game to start the 2016 season, outlasting the Washington Wild Things, 9-6, in 13 innings at Consol Energy Park on Friday night.
The Crushers (6-0) are out to their finest start in franchise history, and Friday's victory was their second extra inning win over the last four days, while the loss for the Wild Things (3-4) spoiled their home opener.
At the beginning of the game, the pitching was sensational. Both starting pitchers, Lake Erie's Todd Kibby, and Washington's Chase Cunningham took their outings into the seventh inning. Kibby lasted 6.2 innings, and allowed just a run on four hits while fanning six, while Cunningham allowed just a run on five hits through seven innings of work.
Washington struck first in the bottom of the third inning, as Jamal Austin stroked a RBI single to left, before Kibby got out of the inning by inducing a 4-6-3 double play, which was the second of four twin killings that the Wild Things hit into on the night.
Lake Erie answered in the next half inning, as William Beckwith smashed his first homer of the season, a towering solo shot that cleared the wall in straight away center field to tie the game at 1-1. The homer was his first of four hits on the night.
The game remained tied at 1-1, before the two teams went to work in extra innings, beginning in the 11th. Lake Erie took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 11th inning on Max Casper's RBI single through the left side of the infield to score Brendan Costantino.
Austin struck again for the Wild Things in the bottom of the 11th, tying the game with a RBI single through the right side of the infield, and two batters later, with runners at the corners and one out, Keegan Ghidotti induced an inning ending 1-6-3 double play to send it into the 12th inning.
The 12th inning was a wild one, as both teams scored four times to send it into the 13th inning. Juan Avila drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th on a RBI single to the shortstop, and two batters later, Costantino singled to right to plate Beckwith. A bases loaded walk to Parker Norris plated Avila, before Casper reached in a fielder's choice to score the final run of the inning.
Washington scored four times on three hits to tie the game. Andrew Heck drove in the first run on a RBI triple to right, and came home on a run scoring double off the bat of Grant Fink. Scott Carcaise delivered a pinch hit RBI single, before Fink scored the game tying run on a wild pitch.
Lake Erie answered with a trio of runs in the top of the 13th to take the lead for good. Barraza brought in the go-ahead run on a RBI single through the left side of the infield and scored on Beckwith's fourth hit of the night, a run scoring double to the gap in left center field. Daniel Aldrich then endured a 13-pitch at bat, and won that battle with a RBI triple down the line in right.
Devin Malone (1-0) scored the win for the Crushers, while Fernando Gallegos (1) tossed a scoreless 13th inning to grab the save, two days after making a start and tossing six scoreless innings in a win over Schaumburg on Wednesday afternoon.
Beckwith led the charge for the Crushers offensively, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, and came a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Aldrich and Barraza also turned in multi-hit games, with two hits each.
The Crushers will continue their three-game series with the Washington Wild Things at Consol Energy Park on Saturday night. Right-hander Steve Hagen (0-0, 2.25) will start for the Crushers and the Wild Things will counter with right-hander Matt Fraudin (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.