CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts suffered their first series loss of the year as they fell to the Lake Erie Crushers 5-2 at Standard Bank Stadium Thursday afternoon.
The Crushers (8-2), who reclaimed first place from the Bolts (9-3) with the win, took an early lead with two runs in the first inning. Carlos Avila and Jose Barrazza doubled on back-to-back pitches for the first score. Juan Avila singled home Barraza to make it 2-0. The three hits for Lake Erie in the first inning were more than ThunderBolts’ starter Brady Muller allowed in nine innings in his last start.
Lake Erie made it 3-0 with a Connor Oliver double in the third followed by an RBI single from Barraza.
Tim Zier and Blair Beck hit back-to-back doubles to begin the Windy City fourth inning, putting the Bolts on the board. Beck was stranded at third, one of several missed opportunities as the ThunderBolts left three men in scoring position and had three runners picked off, including two at second base.
The Crushers scored their fourth run on a Brendan Costantino RBI double in the seventh and their fifth on a William Beckwith RBI double in the eighth.
Cody Keefer hit a solo homer to bring the Bolts within three runs and they brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after two straight walks. Mike Devine, though, stranded the runners at second and third, striking out the last two batters of the game.
Steve Hagen (1-0) allowed one run in five innings and picked up his first win. Muller (1-2) took the loss, allowing four runs in seven innings. Devine earned his first save.
The ThunderBolts continue their home stand with the start to a three-game series with the Joliet Slammers on Friday night. It is the first JULIE, Inc. "Late Night Friday" at Standard Bank Stadium as Scott Marek will be performing country music hits in a postgame concert. It is also Budweiser Fill ‘R Up Friday with drink deals throughout the night. On the field, Clay Chapman (1-0, 4.36) will start for the Bolts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 and the broadcast can be heard at wcthunderbolts.com.
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