CRESTWOOD, IL – The ThunderBolts finished their home season with an 8-0 victory Thursday night behind Daniel Cropper’s complete game shutout at Standard Bank Stadium.
Cropper did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and had faced just one over the minimum through seven before the Crushers hit a pair of singles. Lake Erie only had one man reach second base all night.
The Bolts offense secured all they needed in the second inning, when they got two runs. Andrew Brauer led off with a triple and scored on a throwing error from right field. Doug Joyce followed with a solo home run.
The lead was extended to 4-0 in the third when Chad Cregar and Zach Aakhus chased Lake Erie starter Matt Rein from the game with back-to-back hits that put runners at the corners with no outs. Cregar would score on a passed ball and Aakhus on Brauer’s groundout.
In the fourth, Chase Tucker walked and Evan Button doubled him home, extending Button’s RBI streak to seven games.
Aakhus doubled in the seventh and scored on a balk to make it 6-0 and they added their final two runs in the eighth. Button walked and Mike Torres, Ryan Soares and Cregar hit consecutive singles to make the score 8-0.
Cropper (8-4) finished the game with two strikeouts and one walk. He allowed just four singles. His win was the second complete game shutout in three days for the Bolts after Markus Solbach blanked the Crushers on Tuesday.
Rein (8-6) took the loss, allowing four runs in two-plus innings.
The win moves the ThunderBolts three games out of a playoff spot with six games remaining.
The ThunderBolts will start their final six-game roadtrip on Friday night with a 7:00 contest with the Normal CornBelters at the Corn Crib. Brian Oliver (4-8, 4.67) will get the start for Windy City against Normal’s Drew Provence (5-5, 3.19). Fans not in attendance can tune into the broadcast on WXAV, 88.3 FM and wxav.com.