Normal Falls 8-4 to Lake Erie
Normal, Illinois - The (17-12) Lake Erie Crushers chipped away throughout the game to take game two 8-4 against the (11-16) Normal CornBelters on Wednesday night.
In the first, both Santiago Chirino and Derrick Loveless continued to make history. Chirino doubled down the right-field line for hit number 626. Loveless drew a walk to maintain his consecutive on-base streak of 27 games, which leads the league.
Normal matched Lake Eire who put two runs in the third. Joel Davis and Justin Fletcher knocked back-to-back singles then a pair of wild pitches lead to Davis scoring the Belters first run. After Chirino walked, Loveless hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at two.
The Crushers again put another two runs on the board in the following inning.
Matt Portland was bumped up to start since the Miami Marlins purchased the contract of ace Scott Sebald on Monday. For the fourth time, this season the lefty lasted six innings. Portland didn't get much help from his defense, as they were three errors committed behind him. He was only charged for three earned runs and got out of a bases-loaded jam in sixth to cap off his thirteenth career start as a CornBelter.
In the sixth Lake Erie added another run to go up 5-2. Andrew Godbold got the offense going after he tripled into the deepest part of the ballpark. Chris Irairt followed by a Tanner Lubach walk with singling into right to cut the Crushers to 5-3. Sam Vega did his job and knocked into a fielder's choice to score Lubach.
Jonathan de Marte came in the seventh and gave up a two-out ground rule double, but got of the inning holding Lake Erie scoreless.
The CornBelters threatened in the seventh. Joel Davis leadoff with his second hit of the game then was advanced to second off a sac bunt from Fletcher. Chi-Chi hit a line drive over the Lake Erie second baseman for hit number 627 and now is only 8 hits away from tying the all-time hit (635) record set by Chris Sidick. However, Normal stranded runners on the corners.
Nick Bozman entered the eighth and got a first-pitch fly out, but then loaded the bases and Horn turned to Anthony Herrera. In the last four series, Herrera has inherited the bases the three separate times. The sidearmer walked one then got a strikeout and fly out to end the threat.
A two-run ninth by the Crushers pushed the comeback out of reach and Normal fell 8-4 in game two. The Belters look to avoid the sweep tomorrow with sending Kevin Matthews to the mound, the series finale is set for 7:05 p.m.
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