AVON — After collecting 13 hits Tuesday night with not much to show for it, the Lake Erie Crushers made sure Wednesday that their hits counted.
Daniel Bowman, Ricardo Lizcano and Andrew Davis hit home runs — Davis’ three-run blast in the fifth was the winner — lifting the Crushers to an 8-4 victory over the East Division-leading Evansville Otters (15-7) in front of 1,042 fans at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The Crushers hit three home runs in a game for the first time this season.
They also got a solid start by Dave Middendorf (3-1), snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 10-13 overall (5-6 at The Freight). This is the earliest they won their 10th game since 2010, when they were also 10-13.
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“That’s a lot better than those empty base hits that we’ve been getting,” manager Jeff Isom said. “We took advantage of our base hits and our extra-base hits tonight.
“To Middendorf’s credit, he ended up locking himself back in after becoming unraveled in the second. We had a little bit of a talk between the second and third about being aggressive, and to his credit, he went out and went right after those guys. It was good to see him make that adjustment in-game. That was probably the most impressive thing I saw tonight.”
Bowman, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, got the party started with a two-run home run onto the grassy knoll beyond the left-field wall in the first. It was Bowman’s first home run. He hit five for the Crushers last season.
“We swung the bats pretty well,” he said. “I felt we swung the bats well (Tuesday) night, but we just didn’t have the big hits.
“Whenever you can jump on top of a team with a lead, that’s huge. Huge for our pitcher, huge for us on defense and huge for us going forward at the plate.”
Middendorf gave up a two-run home run to No. 8 hitter John Nester and a two-out RBI single to Nick Schwaner in the second. But the Crushers came through with one of their biggest innings of the season in the fifth.
Designated hitter Ricardo Lizcano led off with a solo shot to left to tie the game at 3. It was Lizcano’s first home run as a Crusher and served as a birthday present to his mother.
“It was a pretty cool moment,” said Lizcano, who went 2-for-3 with two runs to raise his average to .225. “I don’t think I’ve done that, to be completely honest. So I’m pretty sure she appreciated it.
“Definitely puts some weight off my shoulders. I’ve been struggling at the plate since spring training, so to be comfortable at the plate and be able to drive a ball like that, that’s a definite confidence-booster in myself.”
David Roney was promptly hit by a pitch and bunted to second by Kevin Berard. Max Casper followed with a single, but Matt Crim (1-2) coaxed Bowman to foul out.
But like he has done so many times during his five-year career as a Crusher, Davis delivered the big hit when it was needed, slamming a three-run homer halfway up the hill beyond the left-field wall for a 6-3 lead.
Davis has four homers and 13 RBIs.
“That was a huge home run right there,” Isom said. “But in reality it wasn’t one single guy. Everybody in the lineup contributed in some way or another, and that’s what we’re going to have to have if we’re going to be a quality team.”
The Crushers tacked on some insurance in the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Bowman drilled a double down the left-field line, scoring Lizcano and Berard to make it 8-3. The four RBIs gave Bowman a team-best 14.
- Tuesday’s victory was Evansville’s first at All Pro Freight Stadium since July 4, 2010.
- Isom and Evansville manager Andy McCauley are close friends off the field. McCauley considers Isom to be his “best friend in baseball.”
- At the request of Isom, the Crushers are not introduced individually anymore before games. They take the field as a team.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.