By Ryan Decker
RAMSEUR, NC – Charlotte Crushers (9-10) head coach Orlando Barrios said Saturday that he’s “trying something new,” growing out a goatee, hoping that it can bring his team good luck.
So far it has.
Saturday night the Crushers picked up an easy victory in an exhibition game against the Charlotte Police Department Blue Hornets, and they kept the good times rolling Sunday afternoon by getting two more easy wins over the Carolina Coyotes (1-10), winning by scores of 9-2 and 18-3.
Charlotte had scoring chances in each every inning of Game 1. Charlotte hitters left 12 runners on the bases in the first game, eight of which were in scoring position.
The Crushers loaded the bases in the first, and got another runner in scoring position in the second, but Carolina starting pitcher Landon Myers was able to escape both jams.
He couldn’t escape trouble in the third, though.
Miles Marshall doubled to lead off the inning, and then Myers put each of the next two hitters on base without them having to put the ball in play. Battling in the box, James Porcelly lined a 2-2 pitch into right-center field, driving in two to give Charlotte at 2-1 lead.
Crushers starter Anthony Stillwagon settled down after giving up a run in the first, getting back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, and registering a pair of strikeouts.
Stillwagon was pulled in the fifth, giving up just the one run on three hits, and stranding four runners on base.
The Crushers added two runs in the fifth on a single by Justin Williams.
Charlotte broke through with a big inning in the sixth, sending 10 men to the plate.
With two runs already in in the frame, Noah Whalen slapped a two-out single into right field, that drove in two more runs. A few pitches later, Williams came around to score on a passed ball, putting the Crushers in front 9-1.
Only one Charlotte starter failed to record a hit, while the rest of the offense tallied 14 base knocks, drew five walks and four hit by pitches.
Game 2 became even more lopsided.
Carolina held the lead after a three-run third inning.
Sean Adams hit a two-out double to right that drove in a pair of runs to give the Coyotes a 3-0 lead.
It was all Crushers after that.
Charlotte tallied five runs in the fourth inning, seven in the fifth, and six more in the sixth.
The Crushers tied the game on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Goldberg with the bases loaded, and took the lead during the ensuing at bat on a two-run single by Brad Isaac.
Seth Spillman gave Charlotte a 7-3 lead on a two-run homer to left.
Later in the inning, Troy Rosado cleared the bases on a single to center field. Whalen scored on the hit, but two more runners came around to touch home on an error by the center fielder, giving the Crushers a 12-3 advantage.
Whalen and Isaac connected for run-scoring hits in the sixth inning to give Charlotte a double-digit lead, and Rosado’s second double of the day drove in two more runs.
In total, five players tallied multi-RBI performances, led by Spillman with four.
Whalen led the Crushers with four hits in Game 2, while Rosado and Spillman each collected three hits.
Between the two games, Whalen led Charlotte hitters by going 6-for-8 with 4 RBI and three runs scored.
Crusher pitching surrendered just a total of eight hits between the two games, while striking out 11. Chris Isaac recorded four punch outs during just 2.1 innings in Game 1.
Charlotte is back in action on Wednesday for what begins a long week. The Crushers play eight games in five days.