Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Titans (36-24) and Lake Erie Crushers combined for 21 runs on Saturday night, as the Titans were edged 11-10 on home turf.
Kenen Irizarry got the Crushers on the board with a two-run single against Titans righty Zac Westcott (ND, 7-1) in the top half of the third. For good measure, Jake Gitter roped a double to the wall in right, cashing in two more to put the Crushers ahead 4-0.
Fellow All-Star right-hander Joseph Sgambelluri (ND, 5-4) did not allow a hit through three, silencing the Titans’ offence in the early going. In the fourth, the bats started clicking as an E4 and a Rodrigo Orozco RBI single made it a two-run game.
As Westcott settled in, the Crushers’ offence would string together a pair of hits, plating one to make it 5-2 in the fifth. Left-hander Matt Valin served up back-to-back homers to Gitter and Sean Cheely, extending the Crushers’ lead to 8-2.
The end of the line for Westcott saw the righty ring in four and two-thirds on Saturday, allowing six runs on nine hits, walking one, and striking out two in his thirteenth start of the season.
Down by six, the Titans cued the comeback against reliever Paul Kasanovich in the sixth, sending eight to the dish. Jacob Talamante brought home a pair with a two-run single to right, then Clay Fisher extended his hit streak to nine games with an RBI single to left-centre.
Backed by Kaleb Schmidt’s two shutout innings out of the bullpen against his former squad, the Titans took the lead in bizarre fashion in the seventh.
After Jake Sanford led off with a double against Trevor Kuncl, a ground out from Taylor Wright put Sanford 90 feet away to eventually plate on a wild pitch.
Trailing 8-6, three straight walks loaded the bases as the lineup turned over following a fielder’s choice. Jay Alvarez was brought in to record the final out, until Jackie Urbaez lifted a popup to third, for it to fall in to score two runs, tying the game at eight.
With runners on the corners, Fisher ripped another single to give the Titans the lead going to the eighth.
Grant Larson surrendered a leadoff double, followed by two infield singles, leading to the tying run. Bryan De La Rosa’s squibber up the third baseline plated a Cheely lead-off double, bringing the game back to square one.
Tied headed to the ninth, Kevin Escorcia (loss, 1-2) brought the Crushers down to their final strike with one on. Gitter’s second homer of the night took Escorcia over the wall in left, giving the visitors back the lead at 11-9. Gitter finished the night 4-for-5 with a double, two homers, and six RBI.
In the bottom half, the Titans loaded the bases with no one out against right-hander Sam Curtis (win, 3-2) to put the pressure on. Urbaez’s sac fly to left plated Orozco from third to make it a one-run game. Fisher followed suit with a ground ball to third for an unconventional ending, as a forceout at second left Tyrus Greene caught between second and third, leading to a tag out to finish the game.
The Ottawa Titans finish their three-game set with the Lake Erie Crushers on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. from Ottawa Stadium. Following an off day on Monday, the Titans welcome the Washington Wild Things for three starting on Tuesday 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.