JOLIET, Ill. — Round I was close, but the Slammers got the decision.
The Lake Erie Crushers went into the fifth inning of Wednesday’s Frontier League East Division playoff opener tied at 1 only to see the Slammers score three runs in the bottom half of the inning and never look back en route to a 5-2 victory.
Joliet leads the best-of-five series 1-0. Game 2 is tonight at Joliet.
The Crushers played without All-Star shortstop and top offensive threat Andrew Davis, but even without him they were able to tag Joliet right-hander Jake Renshaw early. Still, despite having base runners in almost every inning, the Crushers didn’t score their first run until the fourth.
Jason Taylor and Kellen Kulbacki led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Kyle Boe scored Taylor from third when Slammers second baseman Hector Pellot booted a groundball up the middle.
Joliet tied the game in the bottom half and then broke the game open with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth. Josh Flores tripled then scored on a base hit by Pellot. Erik Lis then tripled down the right-field line, scoring Pellot. Lis scored on a Kayle Maunus groundout.
Renshaw won his eighth straight game with a seven-inning effort, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Ryan Quigley notched the save with a perfect ninth. Paul Fagan got tagged with the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in 42⁄3 of work.
The Crushers will try to regroup tonight for Game 2 at 8:05 p.m. The Crushers’ Eric Gonzalez-Diaz (4-1, 3.11 ERA) will face off against Joliet’s Tommy Mendoza (6-2, 4.00).