AVON — In their first home game since June 2, everything that could go wrong for the Lake Erie Crushers pretty much did Tuesday night in a 9-2 loss to East Division-leading Evansville in front of 1,763 fans at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The Crushers’ problems started early when starting pitcher Alex Kaminsky had trouble finding the plate. Fresh off a 2-4 road trip, it’s not what the Crushers needed.
Things just snowballed from there offensively and defensively, as the Crushers fell to 9-13.
“We kind of dug ourselves into a hole early on,” Crushers manager Jeff Isom said. “Their starter was putting up zeros and we found ourselves down 5-0 after the first three innings. We tried to swing our way out of it, but we just couldn’t get those key hits to break it open.”
The Crushers had 10 hits off starter Bryce Morrow (3-1) over his eight innings, but couldn’t scrape across a single run until there were two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
Why? Well, Juan Sanchez hit into a pair of double plays, there was a big baserunning miscue in the fifth and three strikeouts looking on full counts tell at least part of the tale.
“We outhit them (13-12), but I’d rather score more runs than the other team,” Isom said. “When you’re in a hole early on and you’re battling back and hoping for anything, guys are trying to do too much.
“Meanwhile, Evansville used all fields and weren’t overswinging at things. We’ve just got to do a better job of getting more quality at-bats.”
Kaminsky (1-3) issued three wild pitches in a disastrous second inning that allowed Evansville (15-6) to score three runs and take a 4-0 lead.
Two batters into the third, Kaminsky’s night was done. However, he was charged with one more run after giving up a walk and a single as Evansville pushed its lead to 5-0.
“You’ve got to go in and get ahead of hitters,” Isom said. “He didn’t do that, and when you’re facing a team like Evansville, who’s leading the league in hitting, when you put balls in the middle of the plate, you’re going to get yourself hurt.”
Mickey Jannis, reacquired Tuesday afternoon, tossed four scoreless innings of relief to give the Crushers a chance. And they had several chances over the next few innings off Morrow, but time and time again they failed to take advantage.
The Crushers had three hits in the fifth but failed to score.
Max Casper, who went 4-for-4, had a one-out single but was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by Sanchez. Seth Granger followed with a single to center.
Kevin Berard followed with a single to center, and Isom sent Sanchez home and Granger to third. However, Schwaner’s throw not only was in time to get Granger, but also was a split-second before Sanchez crossed the plate, wiping out the apparent run.
It was that kind of night.
Prior to the game, Isom overhauled his pitching staff, bringing back two old faces from last season in Jannis and Ben Klafczynski and releasing three pitchers, including opening-day starter Travis Longfellow.
Jannis was obtained from the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish to complete an earlier trade in which he was sent to the Bluefish — meaning he was traded for himself.
Klafczynski was recently released by Boston.
The Crushers also activated Michael Jahns off the seven-day disabled list and released relievers Spencer Clifft and Ricky Bowen.
- WHO: Lake Erie vs. Evansville
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: All Pro Freight Stadium, Avon
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.