AVON, Ohio – After struggling just before the All-Star break, the Joliet Slammers definitely needed to get off to a good start in the second half of the season.
And that’s just what they did in their first series since hosting the Frontier League All-Star game, as they won three straight games at Lake Erie.
In Sunday’s finale, the Crushers scored five runs in the third inning to take a 6-3 lead, but Joliet scored a pair of runs in the fourth and then moved in front for good with four more runs in the fifth to rally for a 9-6 victory.
Joliet (24-28) collected 15 hits, which was two more than Lake Erie (23-30). Ridge Hoopii-Haslam and Travis Bolin each went 3 for 5 with two RBIs to lead the Slammers.
Bolin led off the fourth with a homer, and Josh Merrigan scored on a ground out by Hoopii-Haslam to make it a 6-5 contest. In the fifth, Bolin singled in Danny Zardon (2 for 5) to tie it, Chaz Meadows singled in Edwin Gomez (2 for 4) to put Joliet in front, Rock Shoulders came home on a wild pitch, and Hoopii-Haslam singled in Bolin.
After Shane Bryant allowed six runs on nine hits in two innings, winning pitcher Gibson Russ only yielded a hit over the next two innings. Andrew Zellner, Jordan Wellander and Confesor Lara (save) combined to allow three hits while striking out six in the last five innings.
Joliet scored three times in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Spencer Navin (2 for 5) singled in Hoopii-Haslam and then scored on a dropped third strike, and Melvin Rodriguez came home on a double by Gomez. Jordan Dean homered to lead off the bottom of the third, and the hosts added four more runs to take the lead.
The Slammers return home Tuesday and face Gateway to open a six-game homestand, which also features Southern Illinois, and runs through the weekend.