By Jake Hitt
The Crush suffered their first loss at Wallace Field on Friday evening.
The 7-4 loss at the hands of the Sherrill Silversmiths (12-11) snapped the Crush’s three-game win streak as they are now 10-13 on the season.
Alex Larson, who also started Cortland’s first game on Wallace Field this season against Rome last Saturday, was on the mound for the Crush Friday and Sherrill jumped on him early. Two straight singles gave Matthew Fitzgerald runners on the corners with no outs for the Silversmiths in the second. He responded by promptly adding a third consecutive hit, riding a Larson offering over the left field wall for a three-run home run. It was the fourth home run for Fitzgerald this season, all four coming against the Crush.
Larson finished the day with five earned runs on seven hits through six and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts.
Since pitching 15 straight innings without an earned run against him to start the season, Larson has allowed eight earned runs in 12.1 innings, moving his ERA to 2.63.
Crush pitching coach Tyler Mattoon said he believes Larson is just getting tired. He cited the fact that he is a college bullpen pitcher trying his hand at starting regularly as the source of Larson’s fatigue.
“You can tell by seeing that each time the pitches are left higher and higher,” Mattoon said. “I told him to go a few days without touching a baseball.”
The Crush were able to get runners on the basepaths, but were not able to bring them home at the right times.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cortland loaded the bases with two outs after an RBI double by Dylan Ketch. Third baseman Tyler McKeon then strode to the plate.
He battled in what would be the Crush’s last at-bat in the game, at one point connecting for what would have been a walk-off grand slam. It ended up being foul by a few feet.
It was the third instance where solid contact was made with runners on but was just in an unfortunate location.
In the second inning, Alex Flock stung a ball with runners on the corners that ended up right at Sherrill first baseman Chris Turco, who then doubled up Tyler McKeon for an unassisted double play. And in the sixth, Zach Kelley hit a laser right to Silversmiths third baseman Sean Doherty with Dylan Ketch on third to keep the Crush from scoring again.
Cortland still finished the game with 10 hits, six of them coming from Julio Creazzola, Nelson Laviosa and Ketch. Creazzola, the hosts’ player of the game, finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. Laviosa (run scored) and Ketch (RBI) both finished 2-for-5. Turco went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the winners.
Cortland heads to Onondaga CC today for another matchup against the Onondaga Flames, starting at 7 p.m.. The teams last met on June 15, with Onondaga winning 8-7 to tie the season series at two games apiece.