Story by Andy Barch
River City pounded out 20 hits and scored 11 runs Sunday night, avoiding a Lake Erie sweep with an 11-3 victory over the Crushers at T.R. Hughes Ballpark.
The loss for the Crushers, now 27-24, spoiled what would have been their first road sweep of the season, while the win for the Rascals (27-24) was their first in six games against the Crushers this season.
For the third straight game, the Crushers took the lead in the top of the first inning. Jason Taylor and Russ Moldenhauer belted back-to-back RBI singles to give the Crushers the early advantage.
River City cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first inning when Jason Patton drove Eric Williams in on a sacrifice fly, and the Rascals tied the game at 2-2, with a pair of two out extra base hits. Ben Hewett belted a two out double, and scored on Williams’s triple.
The Crushers used a big two out hit from Andrew Davis in the top of the third to reclaim the lead. J.C. Figueroa and Taylor stroked back-to-back one-out singles, and Davis smashed a two-out single to center. That scored Figueroa to give the Crushers a 3-2 lead.
But the Rascals unloaded in the bottom of the fifth. They sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs on seven hits to pull away. Charlie Lisk tied the game with an RBI double, and Jeremy Synan followed with a two-run homer to give the Rascals the lead. Matt Serna stroked a two-run single to add to the advantage, and he scored on Williams’s two out double.
River City was not done scoring as they added three more runs in the eighth inning. Lisk belted his ninth bomb of the season, a two-run shot over the wall in right center, and Williams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the final run of the game.
Eric Gonzalez-Diaz allowed seven runs, six earned on 11 hits over 4.1 innings and was tagged with the loss in falling to 4-5. River City starting pitcher Keli’i Zablan (4-2) secured the victory, after allowing three runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings of action.
The Crushers registered 31 hits over the three game series against the Rascals, and scored 21 runs. Taylor and Figueroa paced the Crushers with two hits each. Taylor scored six times and drove in six runs in the series. He has now reached in 35 consecutive games and is hitting .331 on the season
The Crushers will begin a three game series with the Schaumburg Boomers in Schaumburg, Ill., Monday night. Right hander Alex Loftin (3-0, 3.12) will start for the Crushers, and the Boomers will counter with right hander Alex Rivers (0-1, 14.54). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Frontier League East Division Standings
1. Traverse City 34-17 (.667, - ); 2. Southern Illinois 30-21 (.588, 4 GB); 3. Florence 28-23 (.549, 6 GB); 4. Lake Erie 27-24 (.529, 7 GB); 5. Evansville 22-29 (.431, 12 GB); 6. London 20-31 (.392, 14 GB); 7. Washington, Pa. 19-31 (.380, 14.5 GB)