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Lake Erie Crushers

Crushers 5, Windy City 3: Lake Erie moves into tie for East Division lead

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AVON — As things heat up in the Frontier League East Division, Lake Erie keeps on rolling.

The Crushers, who are tied with Joliet for the division lead, piled on 13 hits in a 5-3 win against Windy City at Sprenger Stadium on Friday night. The win upped their record to 36-28, the team’s best mark at this point since 2012 and the highest over .500 Lake Erie has been since 2014.

“We’re just gelling,” said Cody Lenahan, who produced the go-ahead run and gave the Crushers some insurance with a home run in the eighth. “We’re getting really good pitching. When you get really good outings, it gives our offense a chance to put up some runs on the board. Offensively and defensively, everyone’s been playing really well.”

That pitching started with Oriel Caicedo, who got the win in his second start. He went six strong innings, allowing seven hits and walking one with four strikeouts. The only real mistake he made was in the second, allowing a leadoff home run to Blair Beck.

The Crushers’ bullpen shut things down with Kent Hasler and Seth Lucio combining to strike out the first five batters and Logan Lombana earning the save.

“We’re throwing the ball well,” Lake Erie manager Cam Roth said. “Our pitchers have done a great job. They compete and they don’t give in, especially in jams.”

Windy City (25-39) only led briefly. Lake Erie took advantage of three walks by Braulio Torres-Perez in the second to score two, but the ThunderBolts came back to tie it in the next inning. Lake Erie took the lead for good in the third, trading two outs for one run when Lenahan grounded into a double play to score Dane Hutcheon.

“I was just trying to get a pitch early because I knew if I just put it in play it would score the run,” Lenahan said. “I was just looking for a pitch anywhere in the zone. I happened to mishit it a little bit, but it got the job done.”

Zach Racusin and Terry McClure had solid debuts for the Crushers. Racusin went 2-for-3 and drove in a run in the sixth while McClure went 3-for-4.

Hurley, Klotz gone

Lake Erie parted ways with Sean Hurley, who had been a mainstay in the middle of the team’s lineup, but was hitting .199 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.

The Crushers also traded pitcher Mason Klotz to Gateway for a player to be named later. Klotz had 35 strikeouts in 45 innings with a 3.60 ERA.

“Obviously it’s tough losing a Sean Hurley,” Roth said. “You don’t know what’s going on in the clubhouse, but he was just struggling a little bit. Maybe a change of scenery will help him. It was a business move and it’s a tough loss. He was my first sign in 2016, but it was just a thing where we had to part ways and I had to do what was best for the 23 guys in this clubhouse.”

Contact Chris Sweeney at 440-329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @CSweeneyCT.

Lake Erie 5, Windy City 3

Windy City Lake Erie

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Obregon 4 1 1 0 Hill 4 0 1 1

Zier 4 0 0 0 Hutcheon 4 1 1 0

Johnson 4 1 3 1 McClure 4 0 3 0

Balkwill 3 0 0 0 Lenahan 3 1 1 1

Straub 4 0 1 1 Trimble 3 2 2 0

Beck 4 1 1 1 Wheat 3 1 1 0

Robertson 3 0 0 0 Racusin 3 0 2 1

Brown 3 0 1 0 De La Rosa 4 0 0 0

Becht 3 0 1 0 Roark 2 0 2 0

Totals 32 3 8 3 Totals 30 5 13 3

Windy City 011 000 001 — 3 8 0

Lake Erie 021 001 01x — 5 13 1

2B—Brown, Wheat, Hill. HR—Beck. SB—Johnson. CS—Lenahan. LOB—Windy City 3, Lake Erie 6.

IP R ER H BB SO

Windy City

Braulio Torres-Perez 7 4 4 11 4 5

Drew Peden 1 1 1 2 0 2

Lake Erie

Oriel Caicedo 6 2 2 7 1 4

Kent Hasler 1 0 0 0 0 3

Seth Lucio 1 0 0 0 0 2

Logan Lombana 1 1 1 1 0 0

WP—Lombana. A—3,321.

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