AVON — A bad inning defensively, when facing a pitcher at the top of his game, can be fatal.
The Lake Erie Crushers learned that lesson in their series-opening 5-0 loss to Evansville in front of 4,135 fans at Sprenger Stadium on Tuesday.
Evansville’s Randy Wynne was dominant, pitching a shutout and sending the Crushers to their fourth consecutive loss and fifth in six games.
Two errors in the top of the sixth allowed Evansville to blow open the game, as it batted around and scored four runs, turning a 1-0 game into a blowout.
The Crushers (25-21) had few opportunities off Wynne, who shut them down by scattering 10 hits and striking out 12 while walking just one.
Wynn said Lake Erie never let up.
“I’ve got to give them credit, they battled me every at-bat,” he said. “There were no easy outs as far as I’m concerned. I was fortunate to scatter the hits. There were a couple of innings where they had runners in scoring position and less than two outs and I was able to buckle down.
“I think that’s what was key for me tonight.”
Wynne improved to 4-4 this season. His earned run average dropped to 2.85.
The only real trouble Wynn faced came in the seventh, when Dustin Williams and Dalton Wheat led off with back-to-back singles. After Bryan De La Rosa flew out to shallow center, Nick Rourk singled to shallow left to load the bases.
Wynn struck out Aaron Hill and Dane Hutcheon to slam the door and keep the Crushers off the board.
“He threw the hell out of the ball,” Crushers manager Cam Roth said. “We had a report on him, but that breaking ball at times looked like something we’ve never seen before.
“We scattered 10 hits but just didn’t get that hit when we needed to. They did, and that was the difference in the game.”
That, and some less-than-stellar work from the defense.
Errors by Hill and Doug Trimble allowed Evansville (24-21) to take command.
“Chasing three (outs) instead of chasing five is a big deal,” Roth said. “We would have had De La Rosa up in the ninth and could have pinch-hit if need be.
“But chasing three is much easier than chasing five. I know we would have seen (Evansville closer) Mitch Aker in that situation. He’s a tough guy out of their bullpen but at least we could have gotten (Wynne) off the mound and seen somebody else because he was obviously doing something we could not hit.”