Crushers hit four homers in 16-1 drubbing of T-Bolts

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CRESTWOOD, Ill.  -- The Lake Erie Crushers returned to their winning ways on Wednesday morning at Standard Bank Stadium, scoring 16 times on 16 hits, including four homers, three from Juan Avila, in a 16-1 victory over the Windy City ThunderBolts.  


The Crushers (7-2) won for the first time in five days, and turned in season highs in both runs and hits in the victory, which snapped Windy City's (9-2) eight-game winning streak.     


Lake Erie scored in all but three innings. They scored seven in the third inning, and used a five-run sixth inning to completely pull away. Juan Avila and Brendan Costantino both went deep for the Crushers. Avila belted three bombs, two of which were solo shots, and he also hit a Grand Slam.


Avila's first homer was a solo shot to left in the top of the second inning to give the Crushers a 1-0 lead. The T-Bolts answered in the bottom of the inning, with their only run of the game. Reggie Lawson reached on a base hit to start the inning, before stealing second base. With one out, Fernando Gallegos (2-0) struck out Cody Keefer, but a wild pitch on the play went all the way to the backstop, allowing Lawson to get to third. Jose Barraza had to vacate home plate in order to retrieve the ball to throw Keefer out at first, and Lawson came around to score with home plate uncovered after the throw down to first.


The Crushers then answered with a seven-run third inning, where they sent 10 batters to the plate. Parker Norris and Max Casper started the inning on back-to-back singles, before a walk was issued to Connor Oliver to load the bases. Carlos Avila then stroked a single to center to plate Norris, and Coco Johnson booted the ball in center, which allowed Casper to score as well. Two batters later, William Beckwith smashed a two-run double to the gap in left-center field. Beckwith came home later in the inning on Daniel Aldrich's two-out single to center, and Costantino capped the inning with his two-run homer to left.


Barraza extended his hitting streak to five games, and his RBI streak to five as well in the top of the fourth inning where he delivered a two-out RBI double to gap in left center field, before the Crushers added five more in the sixth inning. Singles from Oliver and Carlos Avila started the sixth, before Barraza walked to load the bases, and Beckwith followed with a free pass to score the first run of the inning. Juan Avila followed with his second homer of the day, a Grand Slam to give the Crushers a 14-1 lead.


Avila struck one final time for the Crushers, hammering a solo homer down the left field line in the eighth inning to complete the tri-fecta, before Crushers added another in the ninth. Carlos Avila stepped in with the bases loaded and nobody out, and scored Norris on a sacrifice fly to plate the final run.


While the offense certainly provided a lot of highlights, Gallegos once again turned in a sensational outing. He scored another victory, allowing just a run on seven hits over seven innings of work with five strikeouts.


Every Crusher that participated hit safely at least once, with the Avilas leading the way. Juan Avila went 4-for-5 with three homers and six RBIs. Carlos Avila went 3-for-5 with two runs and drove in a pair of runs as well, and Norris hit safely twice, going 2-for-5 on the day.


The Crushers will finish their three-game series with the Windy City Thunderbolts at Standard Bank Stadium on Thursday morning. Right-hander Steve Hagen (0-0, 1.58) will start for the Crushers and the Thunderbolts will go with left-hander Brady Muller (1-1, 3.85). The first pitch is scheduled for 11:35 AM.