AVON, OH – Brandon Decker was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh inning, giving the Lake Erie Crushers a 7-6 win over the ThunderBolts at All Pro Freight Stadium Friday night.
The ThunderBolts got off to a strong start when Chris Wade doubled to lead off the first. He eventually came in to score on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the first, The Crushers answered with two runs. Adrian Ortiz, Gered Mochizuki and Andrew Davis began the game with consecutive hits, Davis’ scoring Ortiz. Mochizuki crossed the plate on a Jason Taylor groundout.
It was 3-1 in the sixth when the Bolts made their next move. Mike Torres doubled and Chad Cregar was hit by a pitch. Billy Nowlin then singled home Torres to make it a one run game and Cregar tied it on a Brandon Decker double. Zach Aakhus’ two-run single gave the ThunderBolts their first lead since the first inning and chased starter Trevor Longfellow from the action.
Again, though, the Crushers had a quick response. In the bottom of the sixth, Taylor doubled and Rogelio Noris singled him home. Robby Kuzdale’s triple plated Noris to tie the score at five. Then, with two outs, Matt Costello struck out Adrian Ortiz to apparently end the inning, but a dropped third strike allowed Kuzdale to score the go-ahead run.
Windy City was not yet out of fight. In the top of the eighth, Jareck West singled and stole second and, with two outs, was brought home by a Travis Weaver base hit.
The game remained tied into the eleventh. Both teams had a good scoring chance but were unable to capitalize until the bottom of the eleventh. Davis led off with a triple. Ryan Carr, pitching for the ThunderBolts, hit Wally Correa and walked Taylor before the Crushers’ Decker came up and was drilled by the second pitch to bring home Davis.
Randy Sturgill (2-0) pitched two shutout innings for the win and Carr (0-1) took the loss.
The series continues Saturday night with a 6:05 CDT start time at All Pro Freight Stadium. The ThunderBolts will send Stephen Sauer (0-0) to the mound against Lake Erie’s Mickey Jannis (0-1). The game’s radio broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and WXAV.com.