AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, exploded for nine runs on 12 hits to take game two of the three-game series with Evansville.
The win for the Crushers (26-24) help them to improve to 15-12 on the road this season. While the Otters (29-23) drop their sixth game in their last 10 with the loss.
Jared Koenig (3-0) picked up his third win of the season today with a solid pitching performance. Koenig went 5.0 innings and gave up only three hits, walked four, and struck out eight. Austin Nicely (3-5) got the loss after he gave up three runs, walked two and struck out four over his 7.0 innings of work.
After Lake Erie's offense was shutout last night, the Crushers pitching staff held a shutout through seven innings in tonight's game. Lake Erie's bullpen tonight, comprised of Augie Gallardo, Dalton Geekie, and Logan Lombana, combined to throw four innings where they gave up one un-earned run on three hits and struck out five. Lake Erie's pitching staff made a statement in game two after giving up eight runs the night before to the same Otters lineup.
The Crushers offense struck first in tonight's game. Bryan De La Rosa and Steven Kraft led off the top of the third with back-to-back walks. Aaron Hill then hit a grounder to third baseman Ryan Long. Long stepped on third for the force out but committed a throwing error when he tried to throw to second. Long's throw went past David Cronin at second and into right field allowing Kraft to advance from first to third. With Hill on first and Kraft on third and one out, Kody Ruedisili hit a fielder's choice that helped Kraft score. Evansville's failure to turn a double play on back-to-back batters allowed the first run of the game.
In the top of the fifth inning, Lake Erie added to their lead. Kraft hit a one out single and stole his 14th bag of the Summer to put himself into scoring position. Hill struck out a batter later for the second out but Ruedisili came through for the Crushers. Ruedisili hit an RBI single to score Kraft and make it a 2-0 lead.
Emmanuel Marrero extended the Crushers lead in the top of the sixth inning. Marrero hit a solo home run for his ninth homer of the season. Hill jumped in on the fun with a solo homer of his own in the top of the eighth making it a four run Lake Erie lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Evansville scratched across their first run of the game. With Dalton Geekie on the mound, Mike Rizzitello reached on an error committed by third baseman Dale Burdick. Geekie made quick work of Carlos Castro and Jack Meggs getting them both to fly out on four pitches. Rob Calabrese then hit a two out single to advance Rizzitello into scoring position. Evansville went to their bench with the next batter and brought in Dakota Phillips to face Geekie. On a 1-2 count, Phillips stroked a single into left to score Rizzitello and break up the shutout.
The Crushers offense answered back with five runs of their own in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach. Zach Racusin and Burdick started off the inning both hitting singles. Evansville's pitcher in relief Brian Heldman made a big mistake with his next batter Jake Vieth. Heldman tried to throw a fast ball past Vieth. But Vieth loves fast balls more than anything in this world and belted a three-run homer to make it a 7-1 Lake Erie lead.
Directly after Vieth's at-bat, De La Rosa hit a double off Heldman. Heldman was able to get Kraft to ground out for the first out of the inning but then gave up an RBI double to Hill. Heldman was pulled a batter later and replaced by Chris Cepeda. But unfortunately for Evansville, Cepeda had trouble finding the strike zone in his outing. Cepeda walked the first two batters he faced in Ruedisili and Marrero. Moments later, Racusin hit an RBI single to score Lake Erie's ninth run of the game.
Logan Lombana pitched a one-two-three ninth to shut the door on the Otters and secure the win. Eight out of the Crushers nine batters recorded a hit tonight while seven out of the nine scored at least one run. Hill finished his night going 3-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Zach Racusin and Dale Burdick both recorded two hits nights as Racusin went 2-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Burdick's final line read 2-5 with a run scored and Kraft finished his night 1-3 with two runs scored.
The Crushers will finish the three-game series with the Evansville Otters at Bosse Field on Sunday afternoon. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:05 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.