By Ryan Decker
LENOIR, NC – For the second night in a row the Charlotte Crushers (15-18) got a quality start on the mound out of its starting pitcher, and plenty of run production from its offense.
Myles Levy pitched through the seventh inning without giving up a run, and his offense put together three multi-run innings to give the pitching staff more than enough room to work with.
Behind Levy’s strong outing on the mound, the Crushers held the Lenoir Oilers (20-15-1) at bay for a majority of the game, winning 9-4 for the second win on the road in as many days.
Levy was given a lead before even taking the mound, as Josh Evans scored on a groundout in the top of the first.
The lead was extended two innings later.
Evans laid down a bunt to the left side of the infield with a pair of runners on, with the only play for Oilers pitcher Jonathan Ivey, who fielded the ball, being at third. Ivey overthrew his third baseman, allowing one run to score with the ball going out of play.
Myles Marshall and Joseph Hill each produced runs in their ensuing at bats. Hill’s RBI-single to right gave the Crushers a 4-0 lead in the third.
That was more than enough for Levy.
He pitched 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth and then got two more in the sixth and seventh.
Charlotte added three runs in the eighth, sending nine batters to the plate in the frame, eight of which reached base.
Justin Williams drew a walk with the bases loaded to plate the first run of the inning, and then Daniel Barrett and Max Barrios followed with back-to-back singles to left, pushing the Charlotte advantage to 7-0.
Levy ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning, as a pair of singles a fielding error loaded the bases with one out, knocking him out of the game.
Reliever Andrew Davis got the first batter he faced to pop out to the infield, but couldn’t escape the bases-loaded jam. Trace Wetzel, pinch hitting, connected on a fastball over the heart of the plate and drilled it over the fence in left for a grand slam that pulled the Oilers to within three runs.
Levy was responsible for three of the four runners on base, giving up three runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings on the mound. He also struck out four.
Joseph Hope came in to shut the door in the eighth and ninth innings, earning the save.
Six different Crusher hitters recorded RBI Wednesday night, with Hill and Elijah Bowers both driving in multiple runs.
Bowers doubled his season RBI total with a two-run home run in the ninth inning.
Charlotte pitching got Lenoir hitters to ground into three double plays.
A pop fly in foul ground resulted in a double play that ended the sixth inning. First baseman Sam De La Cruz caught the pop up for the first out and threw to Levy covering the first base bag for the second out, with the runner going too far off the base.
Calm before the storm
The Crushers get a few days off before returning to action for a double-header against Lenoir on Sunday.
That begins a stretch of games over the final week of the regular season that leads into the playoffs.