AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, beat the Florence Freedom behind a stellar pitching performance from starter Dylan Mouzakes.
The win for the Crushers (25-22) marks the second straight series win over Florence. While the Freedom (34-17) drop their third game in two days with the loss.
Dylan Mouzakes (4-3) started for the Crushers and dominated the Freedom's offense to earn his fourth win of the year. Mouzakes threw his second quality start against Florence as he tossed 6.0 innings of one hit baseball, walked two, and struck out six. Daniel Williams (3-1) got the loss today as he gave up three earned runs on seven hits, walked one, and struck out seven. Kent Hasler (3) shut the door on the Freedom in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win and his third save of the year.
Lake Erie started the scoring in the top of the third inning. Aaron Hill led off the inning with a double and advanced to third off Emmanuel Marrero's groundout. With Hill on third and only one out, Zach Racusin hit an RBI single to make it an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, John Cable and Bryan De La Rosa hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. During Brody Wofford's at-bat, the Freedom tried to back pick Cable off second. But the throw from catcher Ryan Rinsky sailed into centerfield allowing Cable and De La Rosa to advance 90 feet off the throwing error. James Davison Jr. then stepped in and hit a bases clearing double to put Lake Erie up 3-0.
That was all the run support Mouzakes needed to put away Florence. Florence had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the third with bases loaded and only one out but could not capitalize. An unconventional double play and bad base running helped Mouzakes get out of the inning unscathed. Florence started the inning with Austin Wobrock drawing a walk. Taylor Bryant then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Wobrock over to second. Mouzakes gave up his second walk of the inning to Isaac Benard to put runners on first and second. Brandon Pugh then hit a one out single to load the bases. Caleb Lopes stepped in and hit a fly ball to centerfield that looked like it was going to be deep enough to score the Wobrock.
When Davison Jr. made the catch, Wobrock tagged from third and started to run home but came to a screeching halt halfway down the line and came back to third. When Benard saw Wobrock break for home he took off for third. Davison Jr. threw the ball in to home and De La Rosa picked it up. De La Rosa noticed both runners on third and started to run towards the bag with the ball in hand. Benard took off to go back to second but it was too late. De La Rosa threw a bullet over to Aaron Hill at second and Hill tagged out Benard to end the inning.
After that inning, Mouzakes went on to retire the next 10 batters in a row. Florence could not get a base runner on against Mouzakes for the rest of his outing. Six out of the nine Lake Erie batters reached safely in today's game. Davison Jr. ended his day going 1-4 with a 2-RBI double, while Hill's final line read 1-3 with a run scored. Racusin finished his day going 1-4 with an RBI and Cable went 2-4 with a run scored. De La Rosa ended his day 1-4 with a run scored and Brody Wofford went 1-4.
The Crushers will finish the three-game series with the Florence Freedom at UC Health Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Left-hander Pat Ledet (2-3, 1.96) will be on the mound for the Crushers. While the Freedom will go with right-hander Tyler Gibson (6-1, 3.43). 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.