Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up

Bottom half of the order paces Crushers in 8-5 victory

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CRESTWOOD, Ill. -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, used a pair of four-run frames to defeat the Joliet Slammers, 8-5, on Friday evening at All Pro Freight Stadium.   


For the Crushers (22-25) the victory gives them three in a row, marking their longest winning streak since they won four in a row back on June 3. The loss for the first place Slammers (28-21) was their third in a row.   


Batters 5-9 in the Lake Erie batting order did a lot of damage, counting for all seven of Lake Erie's hits, scored six of Lake Erie's eight runs, and drove in all eight as well.


It was a back-and-forth battle from the beginning. Joliet hit three homers on the night, and they fired the first shot in the top of the first inning on a solo homer from Alfredo Rodriguez, his second of the season.


Lake Erie answered in the bottom of the third, with a big two-out rally to score four runs to take their first lead of the night. The two-out rally began on Richard Seigel's game tying RBI single to left to score Brendan Costantino. Sean Hurley followed with his second of three hits on the night, a two-run base hit to left field, and he scored moments later on Justin Byrd's RBI single to center.


Joliet used a solo homer from Melvin Rodriguez to chip away at the lead in the top of the fifth inning, before they went deep again to regain the lead in the top of the sixth. Marc Flores walked to start the sixth inning and moved to second on a single from Joe Staley before Jake Gronsky smashed a three-run homer to left-center, giving the Slammers a 5-4 lead.


Lake Erie responded with a four-run seventh inning to take the lead again, and never looked back. After a one out walk was issued to Seigel, Hurley hit his first homer as a member of the Crushers, a two-run shot to left, giving Lake Erie a 6-5 lead. Byrd followed with a double before Brett Synek walked for the fourth time on the night, and Max Casper followed with a two-run double to right to cap the big inning.  


Connor Reed (1-0) scored the victory for the Crushers, allowing a run on a hit while fanning four over three innings of relief. Chandler Jagodzinski (4) scored the save for the Crushers after tossing a scoreless ninth inning. Kevin Simmons (0-2) took the loss after surrendering three runs on two hits over 1.2 innings of action.


The Crushers walked 10 times on the night, and they've been issued 21 free passes in their last two games. Hurley led the Lake Erie offense with a three hit performance, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Byrd went 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI while Casper and Seigel each hit safely once.


The Crushers will continue their three-game series with the Joliet Slammers on Saturday night. The Crushers have not announced their starter, and the Slammers will go with left-hander Sean Townsley (4-4, 3.80). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.