Normal Drops First Game on Road Trip
AVON, Ohio - The Normal CornBelters couldn't take advantage of the Lake Erie bullpen, as they stranded eight runners in a 2-1 loss on Tuesday afternoon.
For the fourth game in a row, the CornBelters starting pitching limited the damage to just two earned runs. Billy Horn turned to Kevin Matthews for the start of the six-game road trip.
The third lefty in the CornBelters rotation mirrored fellow starters Scott Sebald and Billy Roth in completing six solid innings. Matthews, a first-round pick by the Rangers in the 2011 draft, struck out five Lake Erie batters and limiting them to only five hits. The Crushers got to Matthews in the third with a two-run home run.
Normal responded in next half to cut the Lake Eire lead. Santiago Chirino reached on a hit-by-pitch then moved up another 90 feet with his third consecutive stolen base. Andrew Godbold battled a nine-pitch at-bat for an RBI single that brought in Chirino for the CornBelters loan run of the game.
Horn turned to his bullpen to preserve the one-run defecate. In his third appearance of the season, Antony Herrera would be called on first. Herrera, one of six returning CornBelters, pitched his way of trouble after giving up back-to-back singles. Neil Kozikowski continued to keep the Crushers bats quiet, retiring them in order and picking up his fourth strikeout in two games.
The CornBelters has plenty of opportunities to tie Lake Eire, but couldn't capitalize on the Crushers bullpen.
Derek Bauer started the fifth with a leadoff single. On the thirteenth pitch of the at-bat, Chirino knocked a two-out single to move Bauer to third but would be left stranded.
In the sixth, Derek Loveless roped a one-out double but was left on base.
Chrinio again attempted to spark the Normal offense. The shortstop recorded another single to lead off the eighth for his ninth hit of the season and his fourth straight multi-hit game.
Bauer drew his second walk of the game with two outs in the ninth, but Normal couldn't rally him in.
The CornBelters take on Lake Eire tomorrow with first pitch set for 11:05 am at Sprenger Stadium.
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