Ottawa, ON – Evan Grills (win, 4-3) turned in the first complete game in Ottawa Titans (36-23) franchise history on Friday night, as the Titans downed the Lake Erie Crushers 4-1 to open the second half.
The Canadian southpaw was dealing in the early going, retiring 15 of the first 17 he faced in the series opener. The Crushers’ offence was only able to record two hits over the first five innings, as Grills dazzled in his tenth start of the season.
Gunnar Kines (loss, 2-2), a former Titan signee in 2021, fared equally as well racking up four innings of scoreless baseball to keep the game scoreless.
As the Crushers lefty got the first two in the fifth, a two-out walk to Jackie Urbaez set up the first real threat for the Titans offensively on Friday. Following a Urbaez stolen bag, Clay Fisher extended his hit streak to eight games with an RBI base hit up the gut to break the scoreless tie.
Next up, AJ Wright belted a no-doubt two-run shot to left, extending the lead to 3-0. The blast marked Wright’s tenth homer of the season and first since the nightcap of the doubleheader in New York on July 1.
Pitching with the lead, Grills surrendered a two-out solo shot off the bat of Connor Owings in the sixth, making it a two-run game.
As the entertaining contest moved to the eighth, a two-out walk to the number nine hitter set up Kemuel Rivera’s second double of the game to put the potential tying run in scoring position off Grills. The veteran lefty got the dangerous bat of Owings to ground out to second to end the threat.
Right-hander Elliott Carney tossed three innings out of the Crushers’ bullpen in the series opener, only allowing one run off Jake Sanford’s monster solo homer in the eighth. Sanford’s fifteenth big fly of the year restored the Titans’ three-run lead and guaranteed Grills to attempt for the complete game.
Summoned for the ninth, Grills finished the job retiring the side in order to snap the Titans’ five-game slide. The masterful outing saw Grills allow just one run on five hits, walking one, and striking out ten. The double-digit strikeout performance is the Canadian’s third start of ten or more punchouts this season.
The Ottawa Titans are back at home tomorrow evening for the middle game of their three-game set with the Lake Erie Crushers at 6:00 p.m. from Ottawa Stadium. The two-teams wrap up the series on Sunday afternoon before the Titans welcome the Washington Wild Things next week to end the homestand.
For information on Ottawa Titans’ 2022 season tickets, group outings, and 8-game mini packs, visit the Titans’ official website at www.ottawatitans.com.