Reign Letkeman fired six innings of one-run baseball Thursday night and matched his career high with seven strikeouts in a 5-2 Gateway Grizzlies win over the Lake Erie Crushers at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
Gateway (25-36) salvaged the series and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Brent Sakurai led off the home half of the first inning with a solo home run over the right-field fence to give the Grizzlies an immediate 1-0 lead.
After the Crushers (34-26) scored in the third inning to tie the game, the Grizzlies scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning after Lake Erie second baseman Aaron Hill dropped a two-out pop-up in shallow right field that allowed Zak Taylor to score from first base. Gunnar Buhner brought in Anthony Ray on a subsequent RBI single.
Gateway added another pair in the seventh inning — one earned — after Crushers shortstop Emmanuel Marrero dropped a Connor Owings pop-up in shallow center to begin the frame. Matt Brown drove in Owings with a double and scored later on a Shawon Dunston Jr. single.
Letkeman (2-2) earned the win with a quality start and had to battle around a career-high five walks.
Geoff Bramblett struck out three Crushers and converted his fifth save in as many opportunities.
Sakurai, Owings, Taylor, and Dunston Jr. had the Grizzlies’ four multi-hit evenings — the club totaled 12 hits over eight innings of offense. Sakurai and Owings remained in a tie for the team lead with 18 multi-hit games each in 2019.
Gateway will open a four-game series against the Joliet Slammers with a 7:05 p.m. CDT first pitch Friday at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.