Rein leads crushers in 5-1 win
Lake Erie wins series thanks to strong pitching
The Crushers ordered the Matt Rein special on Thursday night.
At least, that's what it would be called if it were a menu item, and the Crushers could theoretically order results of games as if they were menu options.
Rein pitched seven innings and earned the win as the Crushers (40-31) took the rubber match by beating the Freedom (39-32) 5-1. He allowed just one run on five hits, in addition to a walk and a strikeout.
The southpaw improved to 7-5 by following the same recipe that's gotten him wins throughout the entire season. He received early run support and then settled in as the oppressor of the Florence offense's freedom.
Rein retired the first eight batters of the game and 12 the first 13. By that time, the Crushers offense had served him a five-run cushion so that he get could cruise into late innings.
The lone run he gave up came in the fifth inning. Freedom catcher Jim Jacquot led of the frame with a double and later scored on a sac fly from right fielder Kyle Bluestein.
The Crushers main offensive outburst came in the third inning. Already leading 1-0, Craig Hertler reached with one out after being hit by a pitch. The middle of the order would then go to work, and they got some help from two Freedom errors along the way.
Seth Granger made it 2-0, driving home Hertler with an RBI double. Daniel Bowman then reached on an error from first basemen Jeremy Hamilton. During Andrew Davis' at bat, Bowman took off for second. Jacquot's throw got by short stop Junior Arrojo at second and Granger came home to score and make it 3-0. That would be the last earned run of the inning.
Davis walked and set things up for a double from Russ Moldenhauer. Bowman scored on the extra base hit, but Davis was thrown out at the plate and the score stayed put at 4-0.
That set the stage for Anderson Hidalgo. Hidalgo singled to drive in Moldenhauer and make it 5-0. It was Hidalgo's second RBI hit of the night.
The first came in the second inning, when Hidalgo doubled home Moldenhauer after a walk to score the first run of the ball game.
After all that, Rein worked his way through the seventh inning before being relieved by Brandon Smith. Smith loaded the bases without recording an out to start the eighth, allowing a double, a single, and hitting a batter. Smith collected himself and struck out the side to get out of the jam.
Dickerson came on to pitch the ninth in a non-save situation. He struck out the first batter he faced, but then allowed a double and a walk. Dickerson also worked his way out of trouble. He induced a double play off the bat of Bobby Joe Tannehill to end the contest.
The Crushers secured another series victory, their ninth-straight dating back to the last series before the All-Star break.
The win means the Crushers are now in sole possession of the second wild card spot, a game ahead of Southern Illinois, who lost to the first place Beach Bums 6-1. The Crushers next travel to Joliet after an off day on Friday, where they will take on the Slammers in a three-game series.