AVON, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers scored three runs in the second inning against the Gateway Grizzlies and never looked back, beating Gateway 11-1 on Tuesday night at All Pro Freight Stadium.
After dancing out of trouble in the first inning, Grizzlies RHP Tyler Thompson (1-4) was unable to escape a jam in the second. Thompson first walked Lake Erie's Austin Prott with two outs and nobody on. After Emmanuel Quiles singled, Crushers' left fielder Trevor Stevens stroked a base hit to bring in the game's first run. Lake Erie's second run scored on a wild pitch while Kevin Zak's RBI single made it 3-0.
Gateway's offense was unable to muster anything against Lake Erie starter Zach Morton (1-0). Morton pitched five scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
The Grizzlies (12-22) finally mounted a rally in the sixth inning after Morton exited. With reliever Brad Duffy on the mound, Ben Waldrip smacked a leadoff double to right field and then moved to third on a wild pitch. Duffy then balked, which allowed Waldrip to score. The Grizzlies then had runners at first and third with nobody out following Blake Brown's walk and Richard Seigel's single. After a pitching change, righty hurler Mike Devine came on and extinguished the Grizzlies' rally by retiring the next three hitters.
Lake Erie (12-19) then took advantage of shaky work by Gateway's bullpen and defense. The Crushers' offense brought four runs home in both the seventh and eighth innings. Only two of the runs were charged against the Grizzlies' pitching staff due to a pair of errors by the Grizzlies' infield.
Ben Waldrip and Richard Seigel paced the Grizzlies' offense with two hits each.
The Grizzlies and Crushers play the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday evening at All Pro Freight Stadium. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. RHP Trevor Richards (1-0, 5.40 ERA) makes the start for Gateway and is opposed by Lake Erie RHP Hunter Adkins (0-3, 2.38 ERA) The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN's digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt will call the action.