AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, dropped game two to the Florence Freedom 2-0, setting up the rubber match for Sunday's matinee.
The Crushers (16-15) snap a small three game winning streak with the loss. While the Freedom (20-11) solidify themselves as the best team record wise in the Frontier League with the win.
Dylan Mouzakes (2-2) started for Lake Erie and pitched well against one of the best offenses in the Frontier League. Mouzakes held his own against the Freedom as he threw 7.0 innings, gave up two runs off of six hits and walked one in his outing. He is credited with the loss after giving up the only two runs of the game. Mike Castellani (4-1) earned the win after throwing 8.0 innings of shutout baseball, walked two, and struck out five. Jonathan Tripp (5) gets the save after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Mouzakes and Castellani were both very good tonight, so good that the offense for both teams were fairly quiet all night. The scoring happened in the bottom of the second inning for Florence. Tyler Reichenborn led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position off a ground out from Austin Wobrock. With a runner on second and only one out, Brandon Pugh hit a two-run homer off Mouzakes for the only runs of the game.
Lake Erie had opportunities to score in the top of the third and fifth but could not capitalize. In the top of the third, Emmanuel Marrero and Bryan De La Rosa hit back-to-back singles to start things off. With the tying run on first Bodie Bryan flew out to centerfielder Andre Mercurio. The ball was hit deep enough to advance Marrero to third, but sloppy base running led to Marrero being tagged out. When Marrero advanced to third, the relay throw into third skipped past the third baseman Luis Pintor but the ball ricocheted off the brick wall that lines the seats at UC Health Stadium right back to Pintor. By the time the ball got back to Pintor, Marrero was caught in no man's land between third and home. Marrero saw the ball go past Pintor so he tried to advance home, got confused on where the ball was, stopped down the third base line and then was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Aaron Hill then struck out with De La Rosa on second to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, another opportunity presented itself for Lake Erie. Sebastian Diaz drew a one out walk to put himself on. Marrero then hit a double following Diaz's at-bat to put the runners on second and third with only one out. But De La Rosa flew out to right field and Bodie Bryan struck out to end the inning.
Those were the only two real opportunities for the Crushers to score and take the lead in the game. The rest of their hits were scattered throughout the innings. Mouzakes's nice start was spoiled by the lack of run support.
The Crushers will continue the three-game series with the Florence Freedom at UC Health Stadium on Sunday night. Right-hander Alex Romero (2-0, 2.88) will be on the mound for the Crushers. The Freedom will counter with right-hander Tyler Gibson (3-1, 2.47). The first pitch is scheduled for 5:35 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.