NORMAL, Ill. — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, took advantage of a few mistakes by the CornBelters and pounded out 13 hits en route to a 8-4 win on Wednesday night. Normal committed three errors in the loss.
Lake Erie (17-12) took the lead in the third inning against CornBelters starter Matt Portland (2-2). Kevin Lachance led off with a walk and later scored after an error by shortstop Santiago Chirino. The Crushers tacked on another run in the inning to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Normal responded in the bottom of the third against Alex Romero (3-2). A couple of hits and a throwing error by Lachance helped the CornBelters tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Derrick Loveless.
Lake Erie answered right back in the fourth with two runs. A double by Dalton Wheat and an error by third baseman Sam Vega helped lead to a couple of runs, giving the Crushers a 4-2 lead. Wheat finished 3-4 with two runs scored.
In the sixth inning, the Crushers made it 5-2 after an RBI single by Lachance who went 2-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Portland lasted six innings and he was charged with five runs (three earned) on eight hits.
Romero on the other hand, was settling in as the game went on. He struck out the side in the fourth and retired the CornBelters in order in the fifth.
Romero ran into trouble in the sixth and allowed a couple of runs but Kent Hasler came in to get the final two outs. Romero allowed four runs on seven hits and he struck out six over 5.1 innings.
Branden Nunn worked two scoreless innings, including the seventh when he worked around a first and third situation. Lake Erie still led 5-4.
The Crushers loaded the bases in the eighth inning against Nick Bozman. Normal brought in Anthony Herrera and he issued a bases loaded walk to Sean Hurley, making it 6-4.
The Crushers added on to their lead in the ninth when catcher Bryan DeLaRosa launched a two-run shot to right, making it 8-4. That was his third home run of the season.
Justin Sinabaldi pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and the Crushers clinched their fifth consecutive series on the road with the win. Lake Erie has taken the first five games of the season series from the CornBelters.
Game three is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:05 CDT. Juan Perez (1-0) will face Kevin Matthews (0-3) for the CornBelters. Lake Erie will then return home for a six game home stand.