AVON, Ohio -- The River City Rascals won a back-and-forth thriller over the Lake Erie Crushers by a final score of 4-3 in the series opener on Friday night from Sprenger Stadium. LJ Kalawaia delivered the go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth inning in the victory. The Rascals' bullpen combined for four scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Rascals got on the board first with an RBI single from Nolan Meadows in the first inning. The Crushers countered with a three-run second, getting a two-run double from Jake Vieth and an RBI single from Dre Hubbard. The Rascals rallied to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the fourth, getting an RBI single from Zach Lavy and a game-tying sacrifice fly from Nick Anderson.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Anderson drew a walk, stole second base, and came in to score on Kalawaia's single. Rascals reliever Andrew Vernon left the potential tying runner stranded at third to end the bottom of the frame. Closer Jason Zgardowski pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his ninth save of the season.
Rascals starter Travis McQueen allowed three runs over five innings with five strikeouts in a no-decision. Reliever Yeison Medina (5-3) earned the win, pitching two scoreless innings in the game.
Crushers starter Jake Repavich also took a no-decision, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings. Kent Hasler (5-3) took the loss, allowing the go-ahead run.
The Rascals (39-32) will look to take the 2-0 series lead against the Crushers (37-31) tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m. CDT. Veteran southpaw Alex Winkelman is expected to take the mound for the middle game of the series.