Crushers offense falls silent in 6-1 loss
Lake Erie's offense was shut down by Washington Sunday as the Crushers (9-12) could not complete the sweep, losing 6-1.
Winners of three out of its last four games, the common denominator for Lake Erie's success was strong pitching mixing with solid run support. But Sunday, neither was the case.
Pitching was a debacle for the Crushers as Devyn Rivera in his first start of the season could not get out of the fourth inning, letting in three earned runs on five hits and three walks. After that, manager Jeff Isom called upon his opening day starter Trevor Longfellow to come out of the bullpen.
Longfellow, who had struggled in his past two outings, was getting a look out of the pen for the first time this season. The experiment failed as Longfellow only went three innings of relief and three earned runs.
A combination of Doug Shields and Dale Dickerson fanned the flames, each pitching an inning and allowing no runs to cross.
Dickerson, who has been named the Crushers' closer, pitched the eighth inning and didn't even give up a hit. With big wins the past few days, Isom has not needed to turn to his closer, but still needed to get him some work in.
At the plate, Lake Erie had a game very characteristic of the team early in the season with a lot of hits, but yielding little results. Both Lake Erie and Washington finished the game with eight hits.
Almost half of the Crushers' hits were from crafty second baseman Max Casper. Casper finished the night 3-for-4 with three singles to boost his batting average to .318 on the year.
Casper, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, was a player that Isom brought on specifically for his leather. In a surprising way, Casper has become a young, out spoken leader on this ball club both on and off the field.
With another strong performance Sunday, Casper, who had been splitting time with JC Figueroa before his release, wasn't the opening day starter.
Lake Erie's lone run came in the second inning compliments of a Juan Sanchez sacrifice fly that scored Emmanuel Quilles.
The Crushers will return home Tuesday for a three game series against Evansville.