AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, lost to the Windy City Thunderbolts at Ozinga Field on Saturday night, by a score of 11-8 to drop game three of the three-game series.
The loss for the Crushers (9-6) is the fourth loss out of six games on the road trip, while the Thunderbolts (8-8) finally hit the .500 mark to lock themselves in to third place in the East.
Greyfer Eregua started for Lake Erie. Eregua threw 5.0 innings, gave up five earned runs off of two hits, walked three, and struck out five. Kenny Mathews got the start for Windy City and threw 5.0 innings, gave up eight runs, five of those earned, off of nine hits and struck out five Lake Erie batters. Ivan Vieitez (2-1) is credited with the loss after giving up five earned runs over one inning of relief work. Joel Toribio (1-0) gets the win for Windy City after throwing two scoreless innings of baseball in the seventh and eighth. Dylan Prohoroff (4) earns his second save in back-to-back games after throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
The Crushers offense struck first in the top of the second inning. Zach Racusin led off the inning with a double. Because of his hit he has now extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. With two out and Racusin on second, a wild turn of events would plate two runs for Lake Erie. Karl Ellison hit what looked to be a routine ground ball out, but an error by shortstop Brynn Martinez would allow Ellison to reach first safely. In the same play, after Ellison reached first, Racusin was caught in a rundown between third and home. But a throwing error by Trey Fulton helped Racusin score. Fulton's throw back to third base kicked past Randy Perez and rolled all the way to the outfield wall. Ellison realized the opportunity and turned on the jets to score all the way from first base to help the Crushers take an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Windy City put up their first run of the game off an RBI single from Fulton. But the scoring would not stop there as Windy City scored four more runs before the inning was over. Dash Winningham hit a grand slam with two outs on the board to help Windy City take a commanding 5-2 lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, Lake Erie answered back and take the lead after scoring six runs. The inning started off with a solo home run by Emmanuel Marrero. After Marrero's home run, Dale Burdick, Zach Racusin, and Steven Kraft hit singles to load the bases. With bases loaded and no one out Jake Vieth plated a run via a hit-by-pitch to make the score 5-4. Ellison then hit a grand slam over the left field wall to clear the bases for his first professional home run of his career and make it an 8-5 lead in Lake Erie's favor.
The score would stay 8-5 until the bottom of the seventh inning. Ivan Vieiez started his outing giving up a lead off single to Blair Beck. Vieitez would then go on to walk the next two batters to load the bases. And with one swing, General McArthur cleared the bases with a double to tie the game at 8-8. Vieitez went out to pitch the eighth inning but could not record an out. He started the inning giving up a lead off single to Winningham and would give up another single one batter later to Perez. Vieitez was then replaced by Kent Hasler. With one out, Blair Beck got the best of Hasler and hit a two RBI single to make the score 10-8. Windy City would score one more in that inning off yet again another error but this time the error was on shortstop Marrero.
With an 11-8 lead the Thunderbolts sent their closer Dylan Prohoroff out for the ninth inning. Prohoroff allowed one baserunner on in his one inning of work but would shut the door on Lake Erie to seal the victory for Windy City. Even though Prohoroff earned his fourth save of the Summer by pitching a scoreless ninth, there is something Lake Erie should be proud of. James Davison Jr. led off the inning with a double, the first extra base hit Prohoroff had given up on the Summer.
The Crushers will start a three-game series with the Schaumburg Boomers at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, OH on Tuesday afternoon. Right-hander Alex Romero will take the mound for the Crushers. The Boomers will counter with right-hander Erik Martinez. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM EST.
The Lake Erie Crushers, the 2009 Frontier League Champions, and 2011 Frontier League Organization of the year, play ball at Sprenger Health Care Stadium, a 5,000 capacity stadium located in Avon, Ohio. The Frontier League is an independent baseball league with 10 teams operating throughout the Midwest. For more information on tickets, promotions and team news, visit the team website at www.LakeErieCrushers.com or call 440-934-3636.