Clutch Crushers

Clutch Crushers

The Crushers offense comes through with a four-run eighth inning and seven runs, overall

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EVANSVILLE, Ind.  ?  The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, defeated the Evansville Otters, 7-6, on Tuesday night as the two teams scored 11 combined runs after the fifth inning.


For the Crushers (26-27), the win marks their ninth victory in 13 games this month. Lake Erie advances to 3-1 against the Otters this season. The loss for the Otters (31-23) puts them at 9-10 in one-run games this season.


For the third game in a row, the Crushers took the first lead. In the third inning, the Nick Covello led off with a double to right field. Connor Oliver was up next and he was hit by a pitch. Max Casper then entered into the batter's box and laid down a sacrifice bunt to the Otters' pitcher, Felix Baez. The bunt moved Covello to third base and Oliver to second. Jose Barraza would then hit a groundball to second which scored Covello.


The Men of Crush would put another run on the board in the fourth inning. Justin Byrd checked his swing, but got a piece of the ball that stopped in front of home plate. Evansville's catcher, Kolten Yamaguchi, threw the ball over Nik Balog's head at first and Byrd went to second base. With one out, Bryan De La Rosa stroked a single to right field, plating Byrd and putting the Crushers up, 2-0.


In the top of the sixth inning, Sean Hurley walked with one out. Richard Seigel hit what looked like a groundball double-play to end the inning, but catcher's interference was called and everyone was safe. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and then De La Rosa came through with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Hurley.


Then the Otters would score four unanswered runs to take the lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Josh Allen walked and Chris Breen hit a double, moving Allen to third base. With one out, Denzel Richardson hit a bases clearing triple to right field. Justin Sinibaldi took over for Crushers' starting pitcher, Juan Caballero, but he gave up a sacrifice fly to Chris Sweeney, tying the game at three. In the seventh inning, John Schultz hit a two-out solo home run to give Evansville the lead.


In the eighth inning the Crushers would take the lead back for good. Eric Grabe reached on the Otters' fourth error of the game. He went to second on a bad throw by pitcher, Ken Frosch. Hurley then walked and the Crushers would go to work with runners on first and second and two outs. De La Rosa came up clutch, again, with a single that scored Grabe. Covello walked to load the bases and then Oliver came up with a three-run double to the gap in left-center field. The Crushers were up 7-4.


The Otters did not go away quietly, however. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Balog and Richardson hit back-to-back singles. With one out Julio Rodriguez also hit a single to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Balog and moved everyone else into scoring position. Yamaguchi hit a groundball to the shortstop, Grabe, which scored Richardson from third. Grabe looked to his right and saw Rodriguez rounding third base, so he threw to third. Covello caught the ball and threw home, where De La Rosa applied the tag for the out, retiring the potential tying run.


Caballero went 5.1 innings for the Crushers while allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six. Sinibaldi got the final two outs in the sixth inning. Josh Laxer (1-0) picked up the win in only his second appearance as a Crusher. He pitched the seventh inning and gave up the solo homer to Schultz. Keegan Ghidotti gave up two runs on four hits in an inning and Chandler Jagodzinski (6) got the save, as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning.


For the Otters, Baez pitched six innings, allowing only two hits and three runs, one earned. He also struck out six hitters. Ken Frosch (4-2) is saddled with the loss as he goes 1.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs. Tyler Thompson pitched .1 of an inning and allowed two earned runs. Andrew PottJose Barraza scoreless ninth inning.


Jose Barraza walked in the first inning, extending his on-base streak to 12 games.


The Crushers will take on the Otters again at Bosse Field, tomorrow. The Crushers starting pitcher has not been announced and the Otters will start right-hander Luc Rennie (1-2, 5.12). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:35 PM.