AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, dropped the opening game of the series 8-0 to the Evansville Otters
The loss for the Crushers (25-24) takes them out of first place in the East and drops them a half game back of Schaumburg. While the Otters (29-22) secure the second-best record in the entire Frontier League with the win.
Alex Romero (2-2) had a rough first start to the second half of the season at Bosse Field. Romero got the loss and was pulled from the game in the third inning after he gave up seven earned runs off six hits, walked five, and struck out six over his 2.2 innings of work. Jake Welch (4-3) picked up the win with his dominating performance. Welch threw 6.2 inning of scoreless baseball, walked only two, and struck out 12 in his outing.
It was Romero's worst start of the season. Before this outing, Romero had not given up more than three runs in a start since June 6th in River City. Only two teams this year have jumped on Romero. River City on the 6th and now Evansville.
The Otters offense started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Cronin led off the inning with walk. Cronin advanced to third a batter later when Keith Grieshaber hit a single off Romero. During Ryan Long's at-bat, Grieshaber tried to steal second but was caught stealing by Bryan De La Rosa for the first out. Romero then struck out Long for the second out of the inning but moments later, Mike Rizzitello hit an RBI single to make it an early 1-0 lead. Evansville added another run in the bottom of the second inning. Rob Calabrese hit a one out solo home run to add to the Otters' lead.
The bottom of the third inning is where Evansville did all of their damage. Evansville scored five runs off Romero to take a commanding seven run lead.
David Cronin started off the inning by drawing a walk. Romero struck out Grieshaber for the first out but walked Long one batter later to put runners at first and second. Rizzitello continued to be a thorn in the side of Romero as he hit a bases clearing double to make it 4-0. Romero then struck out Carlos Castro for the second out of the inning; but walked Jack Meggs for Romero's third walk of the inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, Calabrese hit an RBI single to score Rizzitello and make it a 5-0 game. Romero then walked his fourth batter of the inning a batter later to load the bases. The final two runs came when JJ Gould hit a two-run single. After Gould's at-bat Romero was replaced by Jake Repavich. Repavich ended the inning getting David Cronin to ground out but the damage was done.
Jake Repavich came in and had a solid relief appearance to stop the bleeding. Repavich ate up 5.1 innings and only gave up three hits while striking out seven. Repavich only made one mistake in his outing, he gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to Castro. Other than that, Repavich had an impressive long relief appearance. Repavich has proven to be able to be a utility player on the pitching staff. He has a couple of spot starts and this was his second-long relief appearance this season where he came in and essentially shut down the opposing offense. The first time was on June 14th when he came in for relief and threw 5.0 innings and only gave up one hit against a lethal Florence Freedom offense.
The Crushers will continue the three-game series with the Evansville Otters at Bosse Field on Saturday afternoon. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM CST.
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.