Story by Andy Barch
Photo courtesy of the Lake Erie Crushers
Daniel Bowman’s two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning capped a come-from-behind victory for Lake Erie as the Crushers scored four times in the ninth to beat Rockford, 5-4, at All Pro Freight Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
The win for the Crushers, now 38-30, it was their their fifth walk off victory in their last eight games. It was also their third win in a row and gives them 13 one-run victories this season, tied for the most in the league. The loss for Rockford (30-38) was their fourth in their last five games.
On Monday, Andrew Davis delivered his second walk-off hit with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to give Lake Erie a 2-1 win over Washington. Tuesday night against Rockford, Wally Correa’s two-out single in the ninth scored Davis in another 2-1 win, this one in 12 innings.
On Wednesday, both teams spoiled opportunities to score in the first two innings. The Riverhawks left four men on base over the first two frames before snapping a scoreless tie in the third, while the Crushers stranded five over the first two innings.
Rockford got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third. Javier Herrera and Michael Hur stroked back-to-back one out singles, and both advanced on Matt Greener’s groundout. Jet Butler then reached on Wally Correa’s error at short which allowed Herrera to score, and Hur came home moments later on Evan Button’s base hit.
The Crushers scored their first run of the contest in the bottom of the third. After Ziggy VanderWall retired Jason Taylor on a fly out to start the inning, Russ Moldenhauer belted a solo homer, his sixth of the season.
The Riverhawks added single runs in the fifth and the ninth. Butler smashed a two out single in the fifth inning to score Hur, and Hur drove in Rockford’s final run in the ninth inning on a one out base hit to plate Brandon Anderson, who started the inning with a double.
The Crushers had been relatively quiet, as they were held without a hit in innings five through eight until they exploded for four runs on three hits in the ninth inning.
Kyle Shaffer saw 10 pitches against Garrett Granitz (1-2) and won the battle with a leadoff single to start the rally. Granitz retired Weldon on a groundout, and walked Robby Kuzdale, who was retired on a fielder’s choice play moments later.
Taylor stepped in with runners at the corners and two outs. The Crushers were down to their final strike when Taylor stroked a single to right center, scoring Shaffer. Moldenhauer then walked to load the bases, and Aaron Klinec came into the game to take his place on the bases.
Davis saw four straight balls to draw the bases-loaded walk, setting up Bowman’s big hit. Bowman ripped Granitz’s 2-2 pitch into right field, scoring Taylor and Klinec to complete the come from behind victory.
Travis Risser (4-3) allowed a run on three hits in one inning of relief, while Granitz took the loss, allowing four runs on three hits over two-thirds of the ninth inning. Patrick Arnold started the game for Lake Erie, and allowed three runs, one earned on seven hits over 5.1 innings, while Randy Sturgill provided 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
The walk off victory was Lake Erie’s fifth of the current home stand, and their sixth of the season. The Crushers won the contest despite behind outhit by the Riverhawks, 12-5. Eight out of the starting nine reached safely, while Bowman turned in the only multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Rockford Riverhawks at All Pro Freight Stadium Thursday night. Right hander Trevor Longfellow (6-2, 4.39 ERA) will start for the Crushers, and the Riverhawks will counter with right hander Nick Anderson (0-2, 3.52 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.