Rein's complete game leads Crushers to 5-0
One-hit dominance by Rein finishes sweep for Lake Erie
Twenty-eight batters. That’s all Matt Rein had to get through as he delivered what was without question the best performance out of a Crushers starting pitcher this season.
Rein carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning as he went on to pitch a one-hit, complete game shutout and never even broke a sweat in the Crushers' easy 5-0 defeat of the CornBelters. Along with the one hit, Rein allowed only one walk and struck out 11 batters, including a three pitch disposal of the final hitter of the game. Rein is now 3-3 in seven starts on the season.
"You don’t want to talk to me,” manager Jeff Isom said with a laugh. “Talk to number seven out there."
“Anytime you’re around the plate you’re gonna have some sort of success. That’s what I try to do every time, but it’s not always that result,” Rein said.
Rein called this outing the best of his professional career and said the only comparable game stat-wise was a three-hit game he pitched in college. He ran through the CornBelter lineup with strong command of three pitches, his fastball, curveball, and changeup.
The win means the Crushers have now won four in a row and they registered their first series sweep of the season. It was the first sweep of any kind this year. They are now 14-16 on the season as they try to climb their way up the standings. They are 8-7 at All-Pro Freight Stadium.
Things started to turn around for this team a week ago in the series against Evansville but the wins didn’t start to come until the last game of the series against Rockford. After completing the sweep here, Isom and his club are feeling much more confident about things.
“We felt like we just really had turned that corner, and then we got the last game in Rockford and we ended up sweeping here,” Isom said. “We felt like we’ve been playing some pretty good baseball. The record hasn’t been dictating that, but it’s good that things are starting to come together.”
The CornBelters fell to 17-13 with the loss and their only hit came in the sixth inning off the bat of Santiago Chirino. Their leadoff man Mike Schwartz reached on a walk to start the fourth inning but was retired on a double play from the very next batter.
“It crossed my mind,” Rein said when asked about a potential no-hitter. “It’s possible. I think it was the fifth inning when I gave up the first one, and then it’s just, keep pitching after that.”
“He never really got himself into a situation where he got into a jam,” Isom said. “Outstanding job.”
Rein’s performance kept a crowd of 2,036 fans entertained throughout, but the Crushers offense also did their part to send the Lake Erie faithful home happy.
Russ Moldenhauer drove in the first two runs of the game with a home run to right field, which proved to be all the Crushers needed tonight. After the blast, Moldenhauer earned the nickname “Muscle Moldenpower” from the press box and was announced that way for his at-bat in the sixth inning.
“The guy looked like he had pretty good stuff,” Moldenhauer said of CornBelters’ starter Luis Noel, who was charged with the loss and fell to 2-2 on the year. “I didn’t want to get two down in the count, so I was just looking for a first pitch fastball, something I could drive. It was actually a pretty good pitch. I just put a good swing on it.
“[The nickname] kind of threw me off a little bit. I told the catcher and umpire ‘guys, that wasn’t me don’t worry.’ It was definitely a little different, but funny.”
“I guess when you’re hitting home runs they can call him whatever,” Isom said.
The Crushers tacked on their third run when Seth Granger raced home on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. They got two more in seventh on a safety squeeze from Ricardo Lizcano and a two-out RBI single from Juan Sanchez.
“What I like most is the unselfishness in our lineup. Lizcano lays down a bunt to score Bowman and he’s like ‘alright, I’ll take that RBI. So what,’” Isom said. “There’s unselfishness going on here, and if you’re gonna have a successful team, that’s what you need.”
The game lasted just two hours because of the combination of Rein’s dominance and quick at bats out of the lineup, but that’s just fine with Isom, who referred to the third inning, in which the his team was retired on just four pitches.
“Casper ended up lining out on the second pitch, and [he’s] asking me, ‘should I have swung? Should I have taken some pitches?’ I said no, in this situation go ahead, swing because I’m sure Matt wants to get right back out there on the mound.
“Things worked out very nice. We scored quick so we didn’t have to have those long innings in between, and Matt continued to get his rhythm all night.”
The Crushers now head to Schaumburg, Illinois where they will look to extend their winning streak against the Boomers. Alex Kaminsky will be on the mound to start the series, trying to improve upon his 2-3 record.