AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, could not complete the sweep against Gatway and dropped the third game of the series by a final score of 5-2.
The Crushers (34-26) are 8-2 in their last 10 games with the loss. While the Grizzlies (25-36) stop a three-game skid with the win.
Jared Koenig (4-1) got his first loss of the season tonight. Koenig gave up three runs on nine hits and struck out eight over 5.2 innings. Reign Letkeman (2-2) earned the win as he threw 6.0 innings and gave up only one run on three hits, walked five and struck out seven. Geoff Bramblett (5) threw a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save on the season.
Koenig started off the game shaky but settled in nicely after the first batter. The first batter, Brent Sakurai, hit a solo home run over the right field fence to put the first run of the game on the board.
In the top of the third inning, John Cable led off with a double. With good base running, Cable advanced to third on a wild pitch during Aaron Hill's at-bat. Letkeman then walked Hill to put runners at the corners. Emmanuel Marrero stepped in and came up clutch for the Crushers and hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game 1-1.
After Lake Erie's run, it was a pitcher's duel until Koenig's final inning in the sixth. Koenig got the first two batters of the inning out but gave up a two-out single to Zak Taylor. Anthony Ray then hit a fly ball down the right field line. Hill went over to make the play but could not make the catch and committed an error which Taylor scored on to give the Grizzlies the lead. Moments later on the first pitch of his at-bat, Gunnar Buhner hit an RBI single to make it a 3-1 game. Koenig was then relieved by Jack Maynard and Maynard struck out the only batter he faced to end the inning.
An inning later, Connor Owings started off the inning with a popup hit to shallow centerfield. Marrero tried to make the play on it, but the ball popped out of his glove and Ownings reached on the error. With a runner on first, Matt Brown hit an RBI double to score Gateway's fourth run of the game. A few batters later Brown scored on an RBI single hit by Shawon Dunston Jr. making it a 5-1 Grizzlies lead.
The Crushers second run of the game came in the top of the eighth inning. Brody Wofford launched his third homer of the season to cut the deficit down by one. But Lake Erie could not scratch across another run against the Grizzlies bullpen.
Lake Erie had their opportunities in this one but could not capitalize. The Crushers left a runner on in scoring position in each of the first four innings. In the top of the fourth, there was a big opportunity that the Crushers let slip through their fingers. Lake Erie had runners on second and third with only one out and could not get any runs. When it was all said and done the Crushers left nine runners on base.
The Crushers will start a three-game series with the River City Rascals at CarShield Field on Friday night. The Crushers will go with lefty Pat Ledet (4-4, 2.28) on the bump. While the Rascals will go with righty Keenan Bartlett (0-0, 0.00). 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.