O'FALLON, MO--The River City Rascals continued their torrid play at home on Friday night, beating the Lake Erie Crushers on a walk-off hit from O'Fallon native Gerrion Grim for a 5-4 victory. The series matches the two division leaders in the Frontier League. The Rascals have now won six in a row, nine of their last 10 and are 7-0 at CarShield Field so far this season. Starter Dan Ludwig was brilliant in a no-decision, going seven scorless innings and striking out five without a walk.
The Rascals jumped out to an early lead on an RBI single off the right field wall in the fourth inning from Braxton Martinez, who was cut down at second base trying to stretch it to a double. They added a run with a Stephen Kerr sacrifice fly in the fifth and went up 3-0 on Mike Jurgella's bases loaded walk in the seventh.
The Crushers scored two in the eighth on RBI singles from Cameron Newell and Matthew Dacey, but left runners at the corners to end the frame down 3-2 after Cody Mincey (2-1) struck out Conner Simonetti.
The Rascals added an insurance run on a bases loaded walk to Kerr in the bottom of the eighth, but Mincey, who earned the win, allowed a two-run shot to Dalton Wheat in the top of the ninth to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, Zach Lavy singled, and was replaced by Taylor Love as a pinch runner. Kevin Suarez doubled down the line, and Love was caught between third and home and eventually tagged out, but not before Suarez motored into third himself. Grim won the game with an infield single two batters later. It was the Rascals' third walk-off of 2018.
Crushers starter Juan Perez allowed two runs in six innings, and three Lake Erie relievers allowed a run each, with Justin Sinibaldi (0-1) taking the loss.
The Rascals got great production out of the bottom of the order, with number eight hitter Jeremy Glore drawing three walks and scoring three runs and nine hitter JD Hearn recording three hits.
The Rascals (9-3) and Crushers (8-5) play Game 2 of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm CT. Scott Grist will make the start for the Rascals.