July 22, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
90°F
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Crushers come up empty after five double plays

AVON — Manager Jeff Isom summed up Thursday’s game against division-leading Evansville rather succinctly when he said it was a game his Crushers should have won.
However, the Otters had other ideas.
Evansville (17-6) built an early lead and held on for a 3-2 win in the series finale at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The Crushers outhit Evansville 11-8, but five double plays — three on groundballs and two on strikeouts–caught stealing — meant another night of offensive frustration for a team that is leading the Frontier League in hits but is ninth in runs scored.
“When you’ve got opportunities you have to capitalize. We just need to get the job done is the bottom line,” Isom said after watching his team drop to 10-14. “If we are not getting the big hit, we need to run and put some guys in motion and try to stay out of a double play.”
Lake Erie got its leadoff hitter on base in six innings, but only one came around to score. Second baseman Max Casper, who walked in the sixth inning, came home on an Andrew Davis single that extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
In the third inning Juan Sanchez was caught stealing on a Kevin Berard strikeout. In the fourth, seventh and eighth innings, double-play grounders — two by Davis — ended potential rallies. In the ninth, pinch runner Gauntlett Eldemire was caught stealing for the second out after Russell Moldenhauer struck out.
“The good thing about baseball players is they have short memories,” Isom said. “The bus leaves for Rockford in the morning. We’ll get there, take batting practice and it’s a new day.”
The Crushers’ other run came in the fifth after Emmanuel Quiles hit a one-out single to left field. He stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on Ricardo Lizcano’s sacrifice fly.
The Otters struck first in the third inning on an Andrew Clark single that scored C.J. Henry.
Nick Schwaner’s two-run home run in the fifth inning put Evansville on top 3-1. The blast, which also scored Henry, was his team-leading fifth.
After struggling in the early innings, Crushers starter Matt Smith buckled down to give his team eight solid innings, scattering eight hits and retiring 10 of the final 12 hitters he faced after the Schwaner home run.
“Sometimes after I give up a run or two its helps me calm down on the mound, then I can focus on keeping my team in the game,” Smith said. “I like throwing against the better teams because it makes me pick up my game. We know our offense is going to come around and we’re going to have another chance against them later in the season.”
Smith (2-1, 3.51 ERA) was helped by a number of fine defensive plays. Sanchez moved from his shortstop position to just behind second base to track down a ball off the bat of leadoff hitter John Schultz in the seventh inning.
“That was the type of play you’d see in a big league game. That’s why we brought him on board,” Isom said of Sanchez, who played at Triple-A Nashville in 2012. “If we can get him to hit a little better he’d be the total package.”
Lake Erie is 6½ games behind the Otters in the Eastern Division standings.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.
Otters 3, Crushers 2
Evansville Lake Erie
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Schultz 4 0 1 0 Berard 4 0 1 0
Henry 3 2 1 0 Casper 2 1 0 0
Schwaner 3 1 2 2 Bowman 4 0 2 0
Clark 4 0 2 1 Davis 4 0 1 1
Marino 4 0 0 0 Hidalgo 3 0 1 0
Martinez 4 0 1 0 Moldenhauer 4 0 2 0
Black 3 0 1 0 Quiles 4 1 1 0
Nester 4 0 0 0 Lizcano 2 0 1 1
Williams 4 0 0 0 Sanchez 3 0 2 0
Totals 33 3 8 3 Totals 30 2 11 2
Evansville 001 020 000 — 3 8 1
Lake Erie 000 011 000 — 2 11 1
2B — Schultz, Henry, Sanchez; HBP — Schwaner. LOB — Evansville 6, Lake Erie 5.
IP R ER H BB SO
Evansville
Zielinski (W, 3-0) 6 2 2 6 2 2
Saranthus 1 0 0 2 0 1
Weismann 1⁄3 0 0 2 0 0
Ridenhour 2⁄3 0 0 0 0 0
Massingham (S, 5) 1 0 0 1 0 2
Lake Erie
Smith (L, 2-1) 8 3 3 8 3 4
Dickerson 0 0 0 0 0 0
WP — Zielinski 2. PB — Quilles. T — 2:39. A — 1,804