Crushers, Freedom split doubleheader
Granger continues power binge, homers in both games
The Crushers came home two by two Wednesday night against Florence.
Using the buddy system to score runs, the Crushers (39-31) scored twice in four different innings in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader. That amounted to an 8-2 blowout of the Freedom (39-32), who entered play just a half game behind the Crushers for third place in the East. The two teams went on to split the two games.
The first two Crushers runs came in the second inning. After Andrew Davis, Russ Moldenhauer, and Anderson Hidalgo loaded the bases with three straight singles, Kevin Berard and Wes Meadows drove in two with a fielder's choice and a sac fly. The runs gave the Crushers a 2-1 lead.
After the Freedom tied it at two in the third, the Crushers came right back to take a 4-2 lead with two more in the fourth. Hidalgo hit an RBI double, and Berard drove him home with a single. Hidalgo's double was part of a 3-for-4 night in which he scored three times. Berard's single was his only hit of the game.
Andrew Davis extended the lead to 6-2 when he clubbed a two-run home run in the fifth. The home run was his 14th of the season.
The Crushers got their final two runs in the seventh inning. Seth Granger led off with a solo home run. It was his second career home run and second in three games. Russ Moldenhauer followed that up two batters later with a solo home run of his own, marking the return of the oft missing nickname, Russ Molden-power.
The Freedom only scored the two runs, but both came off of starter Adam Beach. Beach continues to struggle to work deep into ball games. He lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up the two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out two. Only one of the two runs was earned, but the error belonged to Beach himself.
Luckily for the Crushers bullpen, the two games were only seven innings each so it was not too overworked. Brad Duffy was the first to relieve Beach. He pitched an inning and two-thirds, allowing two hits and striking out four batters. He earned the in to improve to 2-2 on the season.
The other saving grace for the Crushers bullpen was seeing Dave Middendorf take the hill in game two of the doubleheader. Middendorf was coming off two straight complete game shutouts, and he nearly went the distance again, albeit in a shorter-than-usual, seven inning game.
Middendorf pitched 6.2 innings and was in position to give the Crushers a sweep of the doubleheader with a 2-1 win if he could just record the final out. It wouldn't turn out that way, however, as Tanis, the Freedom's game one silver lining, had other plans.
Tanis hit a solo home run to tie the game at two in the bottom of the seventh. After the home run, Middendorf allowed two singles before being pulled in favor of Mickey Jannis.
Jannis couldn't close out the game. After walking Bermudez, he gave up a bases-loaded single to Bobby Joe Tannehill to give the Freedom a walk-off, 3-2 victory.
Middendorf was charged with all three runs. He earned the loss, dropping his record to 9-6 on the season.
The Crushers scored their two runs in the first inning, again in a pair. Seth Granger hit another home run and now has three in four games despite having none in his first 52 games played. The home run gave the Crushers a 2-0 lead.
After a split of the doubleheader, the two teams will meet again for the rubber match on Thursday. The two teams remain just a half game apart in the standings, as the top four teams in the East division are all separated by just two games. Matt Rein will likely be on the mound for the Crushers, looking to build on his 6-5 record.