Story by Andy Brach
The Lake Erie Crushers won their fourth consecutive home game on Tuesday night, pushing past the .500 hump for the first time this season with a 5-2 victory over the London Rippers at All Pro Freight Stadium.
With the victory, the Crushers (22-21) have now won six out of their last seven games and have won eight out of their last 10 home games, while the Rippers (17-26) fell to 6-16 on the road with the loss.
The game was delayed 18 minutes after the sixth inning due to rain.
The two teams exchanged one run blows in the first, and again in the third. Clifton Thomas walked to start the contest, and scored the first run of the game on Mark Samuelson’s sacrifice fly.
Lake Erie answered quickly in the bottom of the first inning, when Jason Taylor belted a solo homer, his sixth of the season, to tie the game at 1-1.
London took the lead once again in the top of the third. With a runner on second and one out, Shane Bagley struck out, but advanced to first on a dropped third strike. Brian Erie’s errant throw to first in an attempt to retire Bagley allowed Aaron Glaum to score from second on the play.
Wally Correa was issued a free pass to start the bottom of the third, and moved to third on J.C. Figueroa’s double before scoring on Russ Moldenhauer’s sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.
Lake Erie plated a pair with two outs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Daniel Bowman’s one out free pass was followed by Erie’s first of two singles on the night. Correa stepped in and laid a sacrifice bunt down to move them both over, and Adrian Ortiz drove them both home on a clutch, two out single to center field.
The Crushers added one last insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Figueroa led off with a base hit, and scored moments later on Russ Moldenhauer’s league leading 18th double of the season.
Paul Fagan (4-3) scored his second straight victory, with a solid six inning effort. He allowed just a pair of runs, only one earned on three hits and fanned four in the process. Jonathan Kountis slammed the door on the Rippers in the ninth, to secure his eighth save of the season. Sheng-An Kuo (0-5) took the loss, after allowing four runs on five hits over 5.1 innings.
Three Crushers registered multi-hit games, as Ortiz, Figueroa and Erie all hit safely twice. Figueroa has now reached safely in 11 consecutive games. Taylor’s homer in the first inning, extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and his on base streak to 27.
The Crushers will continue their three game series against the London Rippers at All Pro Freight Stadium on Wednesday night. Right hander Trevor Longfellow (3-2, 4.01) will start for the Crushers and the Rippers will counter with right hander Yohan Gonzalez (3-2, 2.21). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.