CRESTWOOD, IL – ThunderBolts pitchers walked 11 batters, leading to seven Lake Erie runs as the visiting Crushers defeated the Windy City ThunderBolts 7-4 in the series finale at Standard Bank Stadium Thursday night.
The Crushers (21-25) jumped out to a 2-0 lead without hitting the ball out of the infield in the first inning. Brendan Costantino reached on an infield single and Clay Chapman walked the next two batters to load the bases. Richard Seigel was hit by a pitch to force in the first run and Sean Hurley walked to bring home another.
They made it 3-0 in the second when a double and two walks loaded the bags for a Jose Barraza run-scoring groundout.
The ThunderBolts (24-24) got on the board in the bottom of the inning as Taylor Smart reached on an error and Johnny Eierman doubled him home.
Chapman settled in and retired 14 of his final 16 batters and the score was still 3-1 when the Bolts loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Larry Balkwill hit a hard line drive, but Barraza hauled it in and stepped on first to end the threat.
They did break through in the seventh. Eierman walked and Zier doubled with nobody out to make it a one-run game, but Zier was stranded at second base.
Lake Erie put it away with a four-run eighth. A single and two walks loaded the bases before Connor Oliver was walked by Joel Lima to force in a run. Costantino followed with a three-run double to make it 7-2.
Windy City tried to fight back again. Balkwill picked up an RBI double in the eighth and Cody Keefer brought home a run on a ninth-inning single but, with the tying run at the plate, Keegan Ghidotti got Ransom LaLonde to ground into a game-ending double play.
Steve Hagen (3-2) allowed two runs (one earned) I seven innings for the win and Chapman (5-3) gave up three runs in six innings for the loss.
The ThunderBolts hit the road on Friday as they end the season’s first half with three games at Traverse City. Friday’s contest features Brady Muller (1-4, 3.69) pitching for the Bolts against The Beach Bums’ Austin Bembnowski (1-0, 6.75). First pitch from Wuerfel Park is scheduled for 6:05 and the broadcast can be heard through wcthunderbolts.com.
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