AVON, Ohio — Matt Brown's first Gateway Grizzlies hit tied the game in the ninth inning, but an 11th-inning hit batsman cost the Grizzlies in a 3-2 loss Tuesday night to the Lake Erie Crushers at Sprenger Stadium.
Gateway (14-20) lost its fifth straight. Tuesday also marked the Grizzlies' fifth straight extra-inning loss, and they fell to 2-6 in extra frames this season. Gateway has played eight extra-inning games out of 34 total contests (23.5 percent) thus far in 2019 after only six all of last year.
Lake Erie (17-15) moved into first place alone in the East Division.
After the Crushers scored a run in the first inning, Gunnar Buhner launched his first Grizzlies home run over the left-field wall to tie the score in the second. The Grizzlies hit 19 home runs in 19 games in May, but have only four in 15 June games.
Thomas Nicoll (0-2), forced into an unexpected spot start 15 minutes before game time after Cody Luther was unable to make his scheduled start, allowed only two runs over six innings and struck out seven. Nicoll has worked three quality starts (out of four total starts) but does not have a win.
Gateway has received three straight quality starts but lost all three games. After a 26-12 record with a quality start in 2018, the Grizzlies are 6-8 with one this year.
Ian Kahaloa, Jason Seever, Geoff Bramblett, and Dakota Smith worked a scoreless inning apiece to push the Grizzlies to the 11th inning. Patrick Boyle allowed an unearned run to take the loss. With the bases loaded and two outs, Boyle hit John Cable with a pitch to end the game.
Gateway has scored eight runs total over its last five games and hasn't scored more than two runs in any of them.
Brown added two walks to go with the aforementioned ninth-inning RBI single in his Grizzlies debut. The St. Louis native and Vianney graduate started the season on the injured reserve after the Grizzlies acquired him in a trade with the Windy City ThunderBolts this offseason.
Gateway and Lake Erie will meet again in game two of their three-game series at 6:05 p.m. CDT Wednesday.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.