The Washington Wild Things weren’t able to bounce back after big innings from the Lake Erie Crushers, as they fell 6-5 at Console Energy Park. On Country Night at the stadium, the Wild Things and Crushers were sure to make the game a back and forth battle.
Wild Things starting pitcher Shawn Blackwell struggled in the first inning. He gave up a single to the leadoff hitter and then on the very next pitch gave up a two-run shot to Russell Moldenhauer. Remember that name, by the way. Two batters later, Blackwell hit a batter. Luckily, though, he was able to get out of the inning without allowing any more damage.
When he came back out in the second, he seemed to be a different pitcher. His offspeed pitches were confusing the Crushers batters. He got Emmanuel Quiles to check his swing with an offspeed pitch and when he did, the ball caught the end of Quiles bat and landed in fair territory. CJ Beatty was able to easily throw him out. He struck out the next two batters with the same pitch. One was on a check swing.
Blackwell lasted 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and four runs. Two hits came in the first and four hits came in the sixth, leading to his departure. In between, he didn’t allow a single hit and struck out three in between.
The main piece of the Crushers offense tonight came from one man. Moldenhauer. After homering in the first, he added a single in the 6th and another two-run shot to cap off the game.
Moldenhauer said that he had a similar game in the 2009 College World Series. He went 3-3 with two home runs. Those were solo shots, though. Tonight’s came in clutch situations and his final one gave the Crushers the winning run.
Both hits went over the left center field wall. When asked about if he was trying to purposely do that, Moldenhauer said, “I try to drive everything to left center.”
Well, he certainly achieved his goal tonight.
“Some days it just goes your way.”
Much like the Wild Things pitching, the Crushers starting pitcher was spotty but solid at most points.
Head coach Bart Zellar gave Matt Smith praise after the game. “You have to tip your hat to their starting pitcher. We started matching up with him, but he commanded the strikezone.”
With Moldenhauer having such a big game, one would think that the opposing team’s head coach would consider intentionally walking him late in the game. Not Zellar.
“Well, [Andrew] Davis is one of their best hitters. Moldenhauer just took care of business.”
For the Wild Things offensively AJ Nunziato and Beatty each had two hits. Beatty hit a two-run shot in the second to keep the Wild Things alive early.
It was a hard fought game, the Wild Things just fell short in the end.
Zellar was proud of his team, though, and gave credit to the Crushers.
“All in all, once in a while you have to tip your hat to the opposing team. They beat us.”
The two teams will square off again tomorrow at 7:05 pm ET from Console Energy Park.
Photo Credit: WildThings.blogspot.com