Moldenhauer's two home runs not enough, Crushers fall 4-3
Lake Erie suffers first series loss since July
What kind of kryptonite are the Corn Belters hiding in Normal?
Coming off a season-high 11-game win streak, the Crushers have lost the first two games of their three-game series against the Corn Belters, who have discovered the formula for beating the Frontier League's hottest team.
The Crushers lost 4-3 as a late attempt at a comeback was unsuccessful. The loss means they have lost their first series since dropping two of three to River City from July 26th through the 28th.
Trailing 4-2 the ninth, Russ Moldenhauer belted a one-out, solo home run to pull the Crushers within one at 4-3. Despite a Vincent Mejia single with two outs, the Crushers could not get the tying run across. The home run was Moldenhauer's second of the night.
After three even, scoreless frames, the CornBelters took the lead for good with a three run fourth. After a single from Aaron Dudley and a double from Patrick McKenna, Crushers starter Matt Smith recovered by striking out the next batter. Unfortunately, CornBelters center fielder Oscar Garcia got him in the next at bat. Garcia blasted a three-run home run, and the CornBelters took a 3-0 lead.
Smith gave up only one more run in the contest. It came in the fourth inning, off of a solo shot from leadoff man Mike Schwartz. Smith pitched six innings in the game, giving up the four runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked a batter. Smith was charged with loss and he fell to 5-4 on the season in 15 starts.
CornBelters starter Tyler Lavigne held the Crushers in check through six innings. He allowed a leadoff single to Craig Hertler in the first inning, but did not allow another hit to the next 19 batters he faced. With one out in the seventh, the Crushers finally got on the scoreboard.
Daniel Bowman led off the inning with a home run, and two batters later Moldenhauer hit his first home run to make it a 4-2 game.
Lavigne was pulled after the second home run in the seventh inning. He gave up just the two runs on three hits in 6.1 innings. He earned the win to improve to 3-7 on the year.
Jordan Wellander pitched two innings of relief for the Crushers. He gave up one hit and walked one batter, striking out two of the eight batters he faced.
The Crushers will try to avoid being swept on Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Alex Kaminsky is the probable starter as he looks to play the role of stopper and end the Crushers' first extended losing streak since they lost those final two games in the River City series.
Following this series with the CornBelters, the Crushers will return home for a three-game set with the Schaumburg Boomers.