Crushers drop fourth straight, lose 5-1
After winning 11 in a row, the Lake Erie Crushers (50-35) have fallen on to some hard times as the team dropped their fourth in a row Friday night against first place in the west Schaumburg, 5-1.
Collecting just two hits in the game, the Crushers were shut down offensively by the Boomers' (52-33) Seth Webster. Webster pitched a complete game two hitter on seven strikeouts.
Juan Sanchez was the first Crushers to figure Webster out in the second inning, but until the seventh, he was cruising against Lake Erie. Russell Moldenhauer's solo home run in the seventh inning was the only real piece of offense the Crushers could get.
Typically a bullpen guy, Mickey Jannis gave the Crushers a winnable start going 5.1 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits. From there, the Crushers turned to the bullpen to get them out of the game.
Brad Duffy and Connor Whalen came in to give the Crushers a fighting chance in the fifth and sixth inning by allowing no runs. Jordan Wellander anchored the final two innings, despite giving up a run after a leadoff walk.
With a 2.0 game lead in the east for first place and 11 games left to be played in the season, the Crushers control their own destiny.
After this series with Schaumburg, the Crushers have another tough series against Windy City (43-42) followed by the struggling Frontier Greys (29-55).
Though the final stretch of baseball does play into Lake Erie's hand with eight of the final 11 games being played at home, the season finally against second place in the east Traverse City (48-37) may determine what teams make it into the playoffs.
Struggling of late, Traverse City has lost seven of the team's last 10 games and has not beat the Crushers since last June.
Lake Erie and Schaumburg will meet again Saturday with a 7:05 first pitch.
By: Devon Teeple
Drew Rucinski is back in affiliated ball.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have signed Rucinski to a minor-league deal, according to the Frontier League. The Angels, who have been searching high and low for solutions to correct their once mighty bullpen, have once again signed an Independent league pitcher with the hopes that he can help them in the future.
Last week they signed Jason Urquidez and Dontrelle Willis, this week it's the Rockford Avaitors' workhorse.
Rucinski went to The Ohio State University from 2008-2011. He went 22-13 and posted a 4.69 ERA in 257 innings. He became their No.1 starter his senior season going 5-3. He left Ohio State ranked 16th all-time in wins.
Undrafted, Rucinski signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians after a brief stint with the Independent Rockford RiverHawks, and began his career in Single A Mahoney. After spending time with the Arizona Rookie League Indians, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short-Season A) and the Lake County Captains (Full-Season A), he was released after one season.
2012 saw Rucinski come in to his own starting 15 games, tied for the team lead in wins with seven, struck out a team high 91, and lead all starters with a 3.13 ERA. This year has been much of the same.
Despite a losing record (4-6)-playing for a last place team will do that to you, he still leads all starters in innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA.
Now a member of the Inland Empire 66ers, the Advanced A affiliate of the Angels, Rucinski made his debut last Friday.
According to a 66ers press release, Rucinski showed quality, Major League calibre stuff in his first appearance. He was saddled with the loss, but struck out six, and gave up one run in six innings.
*Statistics courtesy Baseball Reference & The Baseball Cube*