After a few days off for the all-star break, the Cortland Crush returned to action on Wednesday.
The Crush paid a visit to the Syracuse Spartans for an evening doubleheader.
Cortland split the two games with Syracuse, dropping game one 3-2 and picking up the win in the game two 12-2.
“The mindset was to just bounce back, losing he first game was tough,” outfielder Garrett Callaghan said. “I think it humbled us a little bit, we just bounced back in the second game and got back to playing Crush baseball.”
The Crush are now 19-10-1 and lead the Syracuse Salt Cats by three points for the east divisionlead. The Spartans sit at 14-17 and are third in the division.
The first game of he doubleheader was a low-scoring affair, but there was plenty of action in the later innings. After the Crush broke a 1-1 tie on Sean O’Malley’s two-out double that scored Anthony Cieszko, Cregg Scherrer came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh to try and pick up a save.
However, the Spartans used a pair of lead off walks and singles from Zac Legaretta and Gil Merod to walk-off and beat Cortland 3-2.
The game could not have started better or Cortland. Stephen Bennett led off the top of the first inning by smashing a solo-home run to make it 1-0. It was his third home run of the season.
The Spartans knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second on Jackson Geislers RBI-single.
From the point on Crush starter Dylan Fashempour was nearly untouchable. Fashempour went six full innings, allowing just the one run, five hits and recorded six strikeouts.
Spartans starter Ryan Silwinski picked up the win, allowing two runs over seven innings on six hits while striking out two.
The Spartans had a chance to take the lead in the fifth. With a Legarreta on second and one out, Merod ripped a ground ball down the third-base line. Bennett though dove to his right, robbing Merod of an RBI-base hit, and kept the game tied.
The Crush recorded six hits distributed among six players.
The bats woke up for Cortland in the second game. The Crush mashed 12 hits to drop 12 runs on the Spartans and split the doubleheader with a 12-1 win.
Combined with a stellar pitching performance from starter Max Kies, who went six innings and allowed only one run on three hits, Cortland commanded game two from the outset. “Probably 90 percent of all my pitches were curveballs, it was looking really sharp tonight,” Kies said.
Cortland used a four run second and a seven-run third inning to build an insurmountable lead.
“It gives you so much more confidence (pitching with a lead), when you go out on the mound, as long as you do your job, you’re going to win the game,” Kies said.
The Crush made it 4-0 in the second, highlighted by back-to-back doubles by Garrett Callaghan and Alex Flock.
“I was just seeing a lot of fastballs, I was getting ahead early in the count,” Callaghan said. “early in the season, when I was struggling, I was getting into my own head. I’m just trying to get in base every single at bat, I’m just worried about the present at bat.”
In the third, Cortland sent 10 batters to the plate. Jack Lynch and Callaghan each recorded RBI-singles and Brad Nowak put an exclamation point on the inning with a three-run triple that made it 11-0.
Callaghan made it 12-1 Crush in the fifth, smacking a lead-off triple and then scoring on a wild pitch.
Five different Crush hitters had multi-hit games. Callaghan led the way, going 3-4 and was a home run short of the cycle. He also drove in three runs. Nowak went 2-5 with a triple and three RBI’s, Flock had two hits and two RBI’s, while Max Flock and Jack Lynch each had a pair of hits.
The Crush and Spartans play another doubleheader on Thursday in Cortland at 3 pm.