AVON — Attendance for Tuesday night’s Crushers game was 789 — the smallest crowd at All Pro Freight Stadium in the five-year history of the franchise.
All those folks who decided to stay home didn’t miss much.
The offensive woes that plagued the Crushers at the start of the season carried over to the opener of the six-game homestand, and three Florence home runs off three Lake Erie pitchers led to an 8-2 loss.
The Crushers are 3-7 overall, 1-3 at home. Florence is 6-4.
“It was a well-pitched game by (Matt) Rein early on, and it’s a situation where if we could find a way to scratch a run or two early, I think he settles in and doesn’t put the pressure on him pitch to pitch,” Crushers manager Jeff Isom said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get those runs, and that’s something we have to do a better job of is getting those runs, especially early on so we can take a lead.”
The Crushers could not muster more than a hit in an inning until the bottom of the seventh, when they scored twice. By then, they trailed 5-0.
Even in that inning, the Crushers had the bases loaded with one out, but couldn’t score again. Reliever Daniel DeSimone got Andrew Davis to strike out looking and coaxed a grounder to third by Anderson Hidalgo.
“I think we are pressing,” Isom said. “The situation in the seventh inning is where you want to be because you have them on the ropes. Even though we were three runs down, Davis would have been the go-ahead run at the plate. And if you see his at-bat, you could tell he’s just trying to do too much.
“Instead of just taking the single, he’s trying to tie it up with one swing of the bat. We just have to take what’s given to us and not put additional pressure on ourselves. There’s no question these guys are trying and trying to do their best, but they’re almost trying too hard. It’s a matter of relying on everyone in the lineup and not just one person in one situation.”
Rein (1-1) extended his scoreless-innings streak to start the season to 16 before the wheels came off in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
With one out in the fifth, David Harris tripled to center and scored on Ryan Skellie’s single for the game’s first run.
In the sixth, leadoff hitter Junior Arrojo blasted a 3-1 pitch halfway up the hill beyond the left-field wall to make it 2-0. Rein, who wound up with a season-high eight strikeouts, whiffed the final two hitters of the inning to end the threat.
“It’s a combination of fatigue and a mental thing,” Isom said. “We’re in a tight game right here and you’re thinking, ‘If I make a mistake, we’re gonna get hurt right here.’ That’s what ended up happening. He gave them some pitches to hit, and they took advantage of them and hit them hard.”
In the seventh, Rein gave up four consecutive hits that led to three runs and ended his night.
The Crushers went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“Coming into tonight’s game, we were hitting .139 with guys in scoring position, and now it’s going to be less than that,” Isom said. “We’ve got to take advantage of those situations.”
- Prior to the start of the recent road trip, the Crushers activated infielder Anderson Hidalgo off the suspended list and released relief pitcher Matt Suschak, a Brecksville grad. Hidalgo wasn’t able to report in time due to visa issues from his native Venezuela. Suschak was released after one disastrous outing, uncorking four wild pitches and giving up two runs in less than an inning of work. Hidalgo took a .333 average into Tuesday’s game with a double and three RBIs.
- The Crushers are 1-4 in one-run games. All six of their games on the road trip were decided by three runs or less.
- Today’s game is a rare early morning start, with the first pitch slated for 10:35. Travis Longfellow (1-1, 3.75) will start for the Crushers.
- WHO: Lake Erie Crushers vs. Florence (Ky.) Freedom
- TIME: 10:35 a.m.
- WHERE: All Pro Freight Stadium, Avon
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.