Story by Howard Regal
Lake Erie brought out the broom sticks and completed the sweep against the Evansville Otters in the finale of its three game series at All Pro Freight Stadium Saturday night.
The Crushers won by a final count of 6-2, and scored four of those six runs with two outs. The Crushers’ six runs came off of 11 hits, as they finished with 37 total hits in their last three contests against the Otters.
The win for the Crushers, now 32-25, was their fifth in a row, while the loss for the Otters (23-34) was their fifth straight loss.
Lake Erie tallied the scoreboard first in the first inning. Following consecutive groundouts by Adrian Ortiz and J.C. Figueroa to start the game, Jason Taylor scored on an RBI double by Russ Moldenhauer. Andrew Davis then followed suit with an RBI double that plated Moldenhauer to cap the two run frame.
Lake Erie would then add to their lead in the second to make it 3-0 Crushers following Adrian Ortiz’s two out RBI single that scored Wally Correa, who reached on a two out triple.
Evansville eventually cut into the Crushers lead in the fifth inning following an RBI single by Greg Fontenot. Fontenot’s single plated Taylor Black to make it a 3-1 game.
The Crushers would then storm right back with two of their own in the fifth to make it 5-1 Lake Erie. Taylor scored on an RBI groundout by Davis, which was then followed up two hitters later by an RBI single by Kellen Kulbacki that scored Daniel Bowman to cap the two run frame.
Evansville and Lake Erie would go on to add one a piece in the sixth inning. Evansville’s Stephen Marino plated Runey Davis on an RBI single, which was immediately nullified by a sacrifice fly by Ortiz in the Crushers home half of the inning.
Crushers starting pitcher Alex Loftin (4-1, 4.24 ERA) picked up the victory after going 5.2 innings. He allowed only two earned runs through those 5.2 innings, striking out five and walking one while giving up eight hits.
Evansville’s Bryce Morrow (5-5, 4.37 ERA) picks up the loss for the Otters. Morrow went five innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits.
The Crushers bullpen, as it has been the entire series against the Otters, was dynamite once again.
Brad Duffy and Travis Risser combined for 3.1 innings of shutout and hitless baseball in relief of Loftin. The Crushers bullpen relinquished only one earned run in the three games against the Otters in 6.1 innings of work. Also in those 6.1 innings, the Crushers bullpen only allowed four total hits.
Offensively, seven of nine Crusher hitters hit safely. Ortiz and Davis led the way with two RBIs a piece, while Correa finished the night 3-for-4 with a run scored. Crushers backup catcher Kyle Shaffer finished with two hits on the night with a run scored in his first game since being resigned by the Crushers on July 19.
The Crushers will begin a three game road series with Florence at Sunday evening. Right hander Pat Arnold (0-0, 4.50) will start for the Crushers, and the Freedom will counter with right hander Brandon Mathes (0-0, 5.45). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.