AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, split the double header at CarShield Field on Thursday night, winning game one by a score of 9-6 and losing by a score of 5-4 in game two.
The Crushers (12-11) drop to 2.5 games back of first place in the East with the loss. While the Rascals (14-10) take first place in the West with the win.
This was originally scheduled to be a 3-game series with a double header scheduled for Wednesday and the third game to be played on Thursday. However, Mother Nature had other plans. On Wednesday in the top of the fifth inning, CarShield Field was hit by a massive storm. Both games were postponed, to Thursday with the third game being postponed to the next time Lake Erie is in O'Fallon, Missouri during July 26th-28th. The first game resumed where the two teams left off on Wednesday in the top of the fifth inning.
Alex Romero started the game for Lake Erie. In an uncharacteristic start for Romero he gave up five earned runs off of seven hits, walked one, and struck out seven over his 3.1 innings of work. Kent Hasler (1-1) earned the win after he pitched two scoreless innings and gave up only one hit. Seth Lucio (5) earned the save after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
In game two, Jared Koenig started for Lake Erie. Koenig threw 5.1 innings, gave up three runs off of six hits, walked one, and struck out eight. Dalton Geekie (0-1) earned the loss after giving up two earned runs, walked one and gave up two hits in the bottom of the ninth without recording an out. Yeison Medina (2-0) is credited with the win after throwing 1.1 innings in relief, where he gave up one un-earned run off two hits.
River City had to rely on their bullpen early after starter Joe Mortillaro was pulled after giving up three straight one-out walks to start game two. Dillon Sievert came in for the long relief and pitched 3.2 innings, gave up five earned runs off of four hits, walked two and struck out two. Tanner Cable (1-1) is credited with the loss after he gave up three earned runs off of three hits over his one inning of relief.
The offense for both sides hit the ball like crazy in the first game. Both teams combined for six home runs in the contest. River City started the scoring in the bottom of the second inning when JD Hearn hit a solo home run off of Romero to put the Rascals ahead 1-0. Lake Erie answered back in the top of the third inning with three runs of their own. James Davison Jr. started off the inning with a walk. He advanced to third off a double from Steven Kraft and would score on the same play thanks to a throwing error from Cody Livesay in left field. Then Jake Vieth blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall to make it a 3-1 Lake Erie lead.
That lead would not last long, when in the bottom of the third inning Braxton Martinez hit a 2-run home run of his own to tie the game. The Crushers re-took the lead in the top of the fourth inning when Davison Jr. hit a two-out two-run homer over the 26-foot-high scoreboard in right field. However, the Rascals took back the lead in the bottom of the same inning. Tanner Murphy and Artemis Kadkhodian both hit solo home runs to tie the game at 5-5. With smart base running Livesay was able to score off a past ball to put River City ahead by a run before the fourth was over.
Before the game was postponed, Kraft hit a one-out triple in the top of the fifth inning. The weather then hit CarShield Field and play was resumed on Thursday. Zach Racusin stepped up for the Crushers and hit an RBI double to score Burdick to tie the game 6-6. Lake Erie would go on to score three more runs in the top of the sixth to make it 9-6 and shut the door on River City to win game one.
The offense carried over into game two as both teams combined for three home runs. James Davison Jr. started off the top of the first inning with a solo home run over the 26-foot-high scoreboard in right field, again. River City answered back with two runs in the bottom of the first when Nolan Meadows smacked a two-run double to put the Rascals ahead 2-1.
In the top half of the very next inning, Karl Ellison hit a two-run homer to give Lake Erie the lead. Meadows tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run off of starting pitcher Jared Koenig. The offense went quiet for both teams until the seventh inning. In the top half of the inning, Lake Erie took the lead thanks to an RBI double from Zach Racusin.
But River City sent their fans home with smiles on their face with a walk off win. The inning started off with Dalton Geekie on the mound. Geekie gave up a lead off single to Marc DiLeo, walked Artemis Kadkhodian, and then committed a throwing error when Cody Livesay laid down a bunt. With the bases loaded and no one out, Andrew Penner hit a walk-off two run single to win game two 5-4.
The Crushers will start a three-game series with the Southern Illinois Miners at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium on Friday night. Left-hander Pat Ledet (1-0, 0.99) will get the start for the Crushers. While right-hander Chase Cunningham (2-2, 4.26) will be on the mound for the Miners. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
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.