Brandon Shirley and Tommy Sherrer hadn’t started a game on the mound for the Cortland Crush all season.
However, both pitchers turned in gems for the Crush on Wednesday against the Olean Oilers in a doubleheader.
“Coach Stevens let me know the night before so I could really get dialed in for today,” Shirley said, “my last start was two years ago when I was at Wells College.”
There was no rust to Shirley’s game as the game one starter went five strong innings, allowing no runs and just three hits. He also struck out five and walked one batter.
Shirley’s performance, along with 14 base hits from the Crush offense, propelled Cortland to a 12-0 thrashing of Olean in game one. “Whenever we hit, and we have pitchers like that, it’s awesome man,” left fielder Alex Flock said.
Flock finished game one going 4-5 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI’s.
“I did a really good job of going opposite field today, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past,” Flock said. Stephen Bennett had the most impressive day at the plate in game one, reaching base five times on four base hits, two of which were doubles, and a walk from the lead-off spot.
“We’re (he and Flock) probably two of the most dangerous hitters back to back,” Bennett said “today was a big day for us.”
The Crush built a 4-0 nothing lead on the Oilers through the first five innings, before exploding for eight runs in the sixth inning to make it 12-0.
Bennett and Flock led the frame off with back-to-back doubles to right field to plate a run. Nick Pastore drove in Flock with a single to left field.
Garrett Callaghan and Jack Lynch then each hit two-run singles to make it 12-0 Crush. Garrett Bell pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh to secure the win.
Game two was much lower scoring, but the Crush pitching was even better.
Scherrer pitched six-plus innings of no-hit ball, and the Crush swept Olean with a 2-1 win.
The two wins improved the Crush record to 6-7-1 on the season.
The Crush starter didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth inning, and allowed the one run on a walk, error and sacrifice fly. Scherrer also struck out three.
Despite the no-hitter, the Crush found themselves down 1-0 entering the bottom of the fourth.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Cortland began a rally. Back-to-back singles from Drew Boli and Brendan May put a pair of base runners on.
Jack Lynch tied the game, slapping a single to left field that scored Boli and made it 1-1.
Cortland took the lead in the fifth. Brad Nowak walked with two outs and Dolan Nolan came in to pinch run. Nick Pastore then slapped his second base hit of the game to right field that put runners on the corners.
Pastore finished the doubleheader with four base hits and an RBI. “I’ve been really working not dropping my back shoulder,” Pastore said, “I had some dinky hits that fell for me today, just a little luck, the baseball gods were on my side today.”
With Nolan on third, Pastore took of for second. When the throw went down to second, Nolan raced home and scored to make it 2-1.
Jimmy Tatum then came in to pitch a scoreless seventh to finish the combined no-hitter.
“We know we have a lot in the tank for our team, just building the culture, building friendships, and getting the team together at the right time is going to be huge for us,” Bennett said.
The Crush hit the road Thursday as Cortland heads to Rome to play the Generals for the fourth time this season. The Crush are 2-0-1 against Rome so far this season with first pitch at 6:35 pm.
“Rome is a team we feel pretty confident playing against, “ Flock said, “we know what they have, we know what we have, and we’re confident that our stuff is better than their stuff.”