AVON, OH – Stephen Sauer allowed just four hits in a complete game effort and Zach Aakhus had three hits and three RBI in an 8-1 ThunderBolts victory over the Lake Erie Crushers at All Pro Freight Stadium Saturday night.
The Bolts offense got on the board in the third inning, scoring four times on four hits. Brandon Pearl got the rally started with a single before Chris Wade was hit by a pitch. Mike Torres’ single scored Pearl and Chad Cregar’s single scored Wade. After Billy Nowlin was hit by a pitch, Aakhus drove in two runs on a double, making the score 4-0.
Meanwhile, Sauer was not allowing the Crushers offense anything. Through five innings, he had given up just one baserunner on a Jason Taylor double in the second. He retired 11 straight hitters between that double and Robby Kuzdale’s single to lead off the sixth. That single was followed by another nine straight set down.
The Bolts added to their lead in the seventh. Aakhus hit his first homer of the year to make it 5-0. Aakhus, celebrating his 28th birthday, went 3-4 with two doubles and a homer. After an error put Jareck West on base, Bryan Burke doubled him in to make it 6-0.
The final rally came in the top of the ninth. Consecutive walks to Aakhus, West and Burke loaded the bases for Travis Weaver, who singled home Aakhus. West scored on a Pearl sacrifice fly.
The Crushers got their only run in the ninth. Kyle Shaffer led off with a double but still stood at second with two outs when Andrew Davis grounded a ball to first. Two errors on the play allowed Shaffer to score to end Sauer’s shutout.
The Windy City hurler did finish the game, though, for the first complete game for the team this season. He improved to 1-0 with the win. Lake Erie starter Mickey Jannis(0-2) took the loss.
The series concludes Sunday evening with a 4:05 CDT start time at All Pro Freight Stadium. The ThunderBolts will send Dustin Williams (1-1) to the mound against Lake Erie’s Paul Fagan (0-1). The game’s radio broadcast can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and WXAV.com.