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Crush splits pair of weekend contests

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland Crush's Josh Reuter reaches home safely in the third inning Saturday against the Rome Generals.

The Cortland Crush grabbed a victory at Greg’s Field Saturday against the Rome Generals 4-1, thanks to solid hitting and a strong pitching performance from Clayton Jeffries.

The team followed that up with a Sunday road loss to the Syracuse Spartans 17-9, in a game where the bullpen failed to find any rhythm and the Spartans came roaring back from a six-run hole.

On Saturday, Jeffries used a strong pitching performance to propel the team to its fourth home win. The left-hander threw six shutout innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.

The Crush allowed two hits and one run the entire game, as a combination of relievers in Murrell Martin Jr. and John Williamson allowed the two safeties in the seventh that would get the Generals on the board.

The Crush offense had a nine-hit performance, including a pair of 2-4 nights for Dylan Ott and Joey Rogers.

In the bottom of the third, a Josh Reuter walk off pitcher Matthew Russell followed by a Rogers single put runners in position. Ott would follow suit with a single of his own to left field. Three straight batters — Kyle Bouchard, Alex Flock and Joseph Tevlin — would get on base with a single, throwing error and walk to bring home two more runs.

One more Rogers single in the fourth inning would secure the lead for Cortland, gaining a second straight win.

On Sunday, the loss would end that short streak and keep the Crush winless on the road.

After the Spartans started the game hot with two runs in the first inning, the Crush scored eight straight with hits seven Cortland players. Both Schmidt and Tyler Ault went 2-4 on the night, with Ault getting an RBI. Alex Flock went 3-5 with 3 RBI while also celebrating his birthday.

In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the Spartans would rally from an 8-2 deficit to first tie the game at 9-9 before scoring eight runs in the sixth to win going away. The big inning featured a grand slam home run by Edison Mercado. The hosts took advantage of spotty pitching to crank out 15 runs in all in the three-inning stretch.

Crush pitcher Danny Hayden allowed Robert Ballinger to crack a double into right field, getting three runners home and cutting the lead down 8-5 in the fourth.

The Spartans had an answer for every reliever Cortland threw at them, eventually capping things off with Mercado’s grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to push the lead out to eight and create a complete swing in momentum.

Jack George earned the win for the Spartans, while Jesse Sustachek was handed the loss.

Mercado, Jack Paulsen, Hunter Tralli and Chris Schad all had two-hit nights for the Spartans and combined for 8 RBI.

The Crush return home to Greg’s Field today for a 6 p.m. game with the Hornell Dodgers and then head back to LeMoyne’s Dick Rockwell Field Wednesday for another game with Spartans starting at 5:15 p.m.