Ninth Inning Thriller

Ninth Inning Thriller

The Crushers blow a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning, only to score the go-ahead run in the ninth

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FLORENCE, Ky.  --  The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, scored six runs before the seventh inning, and then plated a run in the ninth to beat former Crusher pitcher Jordan Kraus (4-8) and take down the Florence Freedom, 7-6 on Saturday night.


The win for the Crushers (32-38) gives them back-to-back wins for the first time since beating the River City Rascals in both games of the double-header on July 27. The Crushers have secured a series victory against the Freedom. For Florence (30-41), the loss drops them to 1-5 in games that are tied after the eighth inning.


The Crushers were able to strike first, again, as Richard Seigel singled, stole second base and was bunted to third base by Parker Norris. He would score the first run of the game as Brendan Costantino hit a sacrifice fly to right field.


The Freedom tied the game up, at one, as Austin Newell doubled with one out and then Jordan Brower hit an RBI single.


The Crushers opened the game up in the fifth and sixth inning. In the fifth, with two outs, Robb Paller doubled to right field and Sean Hurley hit his fourth home run of the season to left field. The Men of Crush got three more runs in the sixth, as Seigel singled once again, stole second base and would later come home to score on a sacrifice fly to shallow center field by Norris. Later in the inning, Costantino reached on an error by the third baseman, Taylor Oldham, and Bryan De La Rosa crushed a two-run home run to left-center field, his second of the year. The homer put the Crushers up 6-1.


The Freedom got a run in the bottom of the sixth inning on an Oldham solo home run, his 11th of the season, making it a four run deficit heading into the seventh inning.


In the eighth inning, the Freedom tied the game up at six. Travis Weaver smacked a home run to left field to start the inning. Andre Mercurio would ground out to the Crushers' starting pitcher, Connor Reed, for the first out of the inning. Oldham then hit his second double of the game before Andrew Godbold hit an RBI single to center field. Newell singled moving the runner up to second base. Brower knocked another RBI single to right, allowing Godbold to score. Josh Henderson pinch-hit for Shaun Cooper. Henderson came up with a clutch RBI single to left field, tying the game at six. The Freedom would strand bases loaded as Chandler Jagodzinski (3-3) finished the inning.


It did not the Crushers long to retake the lead as De La Rosa roped a single to center field to start the top of the ninth inning. Max Casper laid down a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, Kraus. With a runner on second, Paller walked before Hurley struck out looking. Jose Barraza walked and then Seigel came up with his fifth hit of the day, this time a single to right field, allowing De La Rosa to score from third base and Paller was out trying to score from second base. However, the run counted and Lake Erie took the lead and held on for the victory.


Following a 2-4 Friday night, at the plate, with a grand slam home run, Seigel went 5-5 with an RBI on Saturday night against the team who traded him to the Crushers. Paller, Hurley and De La Rosa all had two hits, each.


Reed pitched very well for the Crushers tonight but did not get a decision. He gave up four runs and six hits in 7.1 innings on the mound. Josh Laxer was brought on in relief of Reed in the eighth inning but could not get an out as he allowed two runs on four hits. Jagodzinski earned the win after coming through in a big situation for the Crushers. He was able to get the final two outs for the eighth inning and then pitch a scoreless ninth inning.


Kraus went 8.2 innings, picking up the loss as he gave up seven runs, five earned, on ten hits and three walks. He threw 124 pitches tonight. Pete Levitt got the final out in the top of the ninth inning.

The Crushers will go for the sweep on Sunday night. Lake Erie will start left-hander Stetson Nelson (4-5, 4.36). The Freedom will counter with left-hander Braulio Torres-Perez, making his first start and appearance of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM.