AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, beat the Gateway Grizzlies in the opening game of the three-game series by a final score of 4-2.
The win for the Crushers (33-25) helps them improve to 17-12 on the road this season. While the Grizzlies (24-35) lose their sixth game out of their last 10.
Paul Hall Jr. (1-0) earned his first professional win tonight as he turned in a great outing. Hall Jr. went 5.0 innings, gave up one run on four hits, walked two and struck out eight. Jordan Barrett (2-5) got the loss tonight as he gave up four runs on six hits, walked five and struck out seven over his 4.1 innings pitched.
The Crushers struck first in tonight's game. In the top of the first inning, Zach Racusin reached on an error made by the third baseman Connor Owings. Racusin took advantage of the poor defense and advanced all the way to second on the error. Emmanuel Marreo then stroked a single into left to put runners at the corners with no outs. Dale Burdick stepped up and hit an RBI single to score Racusin to make it an early 1-0 lead.
Gateway tied the game in the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer off the bat Connor Owings.
But Lake Erie retook the lead in the top of the second inning. Bryan De La Rosa drew a one out walk to get the offense started. A batter later, John Cable smoked a fastball into center for a base hit. With great base running, De La Rosa advanced all the way to third on Cable's hit. Aaron Hill jumped in on the fun with an RBI base hit to score De La Rosa and make it a 2-1 game.
The third run of the game for the Crushers came in the top of the third inning. Marrero drew a lead off walk and then advanced into scoring position one batter later on Burdick's second hit of the night. On the first pitch of his at-bat, Brody Wofford flew out to third for the first out of the inning. But Steven Kraft stepped up for the Crushers and hit an RBI double to score Marrero to extend the lead by two.
In the top of the fifth inning Lake Erie scored their fourth run of the game. Barrett walked three of the first four batters to load the bases. Then hit Jake Vieth to score the fourth run of the game for Lake Erie making it a 4-1 lead. Thomas Nicoll came in for relief of Barrett after Vieth's at-bat and struck out the two batters he faced to end the inning.
Dustin Woodcock was responsible for the Grizzlies second run of the game. He hit a solo homer to start off the seventh inning and cut the deficit down by two. Lake Erie's bullpen locked down Gateway's offense after the homer until the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Luke Lowry hit a lead off single. Crushers closer Logan Lombana struck out Woodcock for the first out of the inning but then gave up a single to Luis Roman. Lowry advanced to third off Roman's single to put runners at first and third with one out. But that did not phase Lombana as he induced a game ending double play to secure the win.
The Crushers will continue their three-game series with the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Ballpark on Wednesday night. It is still TBD on who will be on the bump for the Crushers. But the Grizzlies will go with righty Ian Kahaloa (1-3, 3.46). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 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.