Defeat comes in spite of season-high four homers in game
AVON, Ohio — Despite four home runs and a comeback push in the middle innings, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, could not overcome an early four-run deficit Friday night at Sprenger Stadium and fell to the Lake Erie Crushers by a score of 11-5.
With newcomer Eric Gleese (0-1) on the mound for the Freedom (32-17), the Crushers (21-27) rallied for four runs in the first inning. L.J. Kalawaia led off with a bunt single and scored the game’s first run on a double by Brandon Murray, who later came home on a Cody Lenahan single. Austin O’Brien immediately followed with a two-run homer for a 4-0 advantage.
But as Gleese rebounded to hold Lake Erie scoreless for the next three innings, Florence gradually pushed back. Collins Cuthrell led off the second inning with a home run to left field off Crushers starter Juan Caballero (3-1), and Andrew Godbold hit a solo homer in the fourth inning. In the top of the fifth, Austin Wobrock hustled out an infield single and took second on a groundout. Taylor Oldham then walked before Jose Brizuela drove in Wobrock with a bloop single to center field, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base with the score 4-3. Godbold, however, struck out looking to end the threat.
Gleese returned to the mound in the fifth and would serve up a three-run homer to Sean Hurley, re-extending Florence’s deficit to four runs. In the sixth, the rookie right-hander allowed a double and a single before yielding to Laetten Galbraith. The latter hit Trever Achenbach with a pitch to load the bases, and all runners would score on a triple by Kalawaia, who in turn raced home on a sacrifice fly to center.
Gleese gave up a total of nine runs, all earned, on eight hits, but still struck out seven batters in his Freedom debut. Meanwhile, Caballero pitched five innings for the win and struck out five, while Justin Sinibaldi fanned four over three innings of relief before turning the ball over to Manny Arciniega for the ninth.
Jose Brizuela and Jordan Brower hit solo homers in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, giving Florence its final two runs of the evening, but the five total runs on seven hits was not enough against Lake Erie’s 11-run, nine-hit onslaught.
The loss was the Freedom’s third straight, and the team has now two of its last seven games.
The series continues Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Sprenger Stadium. Enrique Zamora (1-0) will start for the Freedom against Lake Erie’s Payton Lobdell (0-3).
The Florence Freedom are members of the independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at FlorenceFreedom.com, or by phone at 859-594-4487.