September 1, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
76°F
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Crushers 5, CornBelters 0: Matt Rein throws 1-hitter as Lake Erie wins 4th straight

AVON — Maybe the St. Louis Cardinals were on to something two years ago when they purchased Matt Rein’s contract before he threw a pitch for the Lake Erie Crushers.
After returning to the Crushers this season, Rein has wasted little time in becoming the team’s best and most consistent starting pitcher. His masterpiece Thursday cemented that status.
Rein dominated the Normal CornBelters on Thursday, tossing a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and only one walk. His dominant outing took only 1:55 to complete and propelled the Crushers to a 5-0 win in front of 2,036 fans at All Pro Freight Stadium.
“He commanded three pitches and got ahead of hitters,” Crushers manager Jeff Isom said, referring to Rein’s fastball, curveball and change-up.
“One-hit shutout baseball with 110 pitches, facing one guy over the minimum — just outstanding baseball. He rarely got himself into situations that would be a jam. I can’t say enough about how he threw today.”
Lake Erie (14-16, 8-7 at home) won its fourth straight — its longest winning streak of the season — and picked up its first series sweep.
“We feel like we’re in a good position right now,” Isom said. “We’ve felt like we’ve been playing some good baseball. Our record doesn’t show it, but it’s good to see things starting to come together for us right now.”
Prior to the game, Normal manager Brooks Carey expressed his concern about how the left-handed Rein would dominate his lineup that was loaded with left-handed hitters. His concerns proved to be justified.
Rein’s complete game was the first for the Crushers this season and just the 13th in team history. The one-hitter is the best performance in the five-year history of the franchise.
“We had a little bit of a lead, so I didn’t want to walk anybody and just keep throwing strikes,” Rein said. “The defense picks you up. When you’re around the zone, you give the defense a chance, and with the guys I have behind me, I know they’re going to make those plays. It’s definitely easier to pitch with a lead.”
Rein faced just 28 hitters — one over the minimum. Mike Schwartz’s leadoff walk in the fourth gave the CornBelters (17-13) their first baserunner, and Santiago Chirino’s one-out single in the sixth broke up the no-hit bid. Rein retired the final 11 batters.
“The key was throwing first pitches for strikes (and) getting my fastball over for strikes,” said Rein, who lowered his ERA to 2.32. “Any time you’re around the plate like that, you should have some sort of success.
“After I got out of the first, the no-hitter first crossed my mind. I thought it could be possible. But after I gave up the one, I just went back at it and didn’t allow myself to lose focus.”
Russell Moldenhauer gave Rein the only run support he needed with a two-out, two-run home run in the first. The blast set the tone for another double-digit hit day by the Crushers.
Moldenhauer’s homer came on the first pitch from Luis Noel (2-2) and landed near the kid’s play area beyond the right-field wall. It was his fifth home run and gave him a team-best 21 RBIs.
Notes
Relief pitcher Devyn Rivera was placed on the seven-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday.
… Jonathan Kountis, the Crushers’ closer last season, is playing for the Vancouver Canadians, the short-season Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Kountis is one of two ex-Crushers in affiliated baseball, along with pitcher Tom Vessella.
… Former Cavaliers play-by-play legend Joe Tait will make his annual appearance at a Crushers game July 23.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or dangilles73@gmail.com.
Crushers 5, CornBelters 0
Normal Lake Erie
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Schwartz 3 0 0 0 Casper 4 0 1 0
Manago 3 0 0 0 Hidalgo 4 1 1 0
McKenna 3 0 0 0 Davis 4 0 0 0
Mobbs 3 0 0 0 Moldenhauer 4 1 2 2
Wright 3 0 0 0 Bowman 4 1 2 0
Torres 3 0 0 0 Quiles 4 1 1 0
Gavlik 3 0 0 0 Granger 3 1 1 0
Chirino 3 0 1 0 Lizcano 2 0 1 1
Wilson 3 0 0 0 Sanchez 3 0 1 1
Totals 27 0 1 0 Totals 32 5 10 4
Normal 000 000 000 — 0 1 0
Lake Erie 200 010 20X — 5 10 0
LOB — Normal 1, Lake Erie 4. DP — Lake Erie 1. 2B — Bowman (13). HR — Moldenhauer (5). RBI—Moldenhauer 2 (21), Lizcano (9), Sanchez (11). SAC — Lizcano. SB — Granger (3).
IP H R ER BB K
Normal
Noel (L, 2-2) 7 8 5 5 0 6
Schweiss 1 2 0 0 0 0
Lake Erie
Rein (W, 3-3) 9 1 0 0 1 11
WP—Noel 3 (4). PB—Torres. T—1:55. A— 2,036.