Crush knock off first place Salt Cats

Cortland Crush, Charlie Hammel pitching. (Scott Thomas/Cortland Crush).

Cortland has gone back and forth with the Syracuse Salt Cats all season long, as both teams played four games to this point and are each 2-2 in those games.

With Syracuse sitting at 1st in the East and Cortland 2nd, Monday nights game was important for both teams.

The Crush were the ones that came out on top, using an early flurry of runs and a solid performance from Dylan Fashempour and the bullpen on the mound to pick up an 11-4 win over the Salt Cats.

"We know what we're going to get, they're a really good team, we got to come out prepared," said left fielder, Alex Flock. "We did a good job of that, we knew we were going to see a lefty today and we did a good job with the approach at the plate."

Cortland (12-9-1) totaled nine base hits on the night and jumped out on the Salt Cats (15-6-1) early. The Crush plated five runs in the first inning to take an early lead.

Nick Pastore drove in a run on a fielder's choice and Drew Boli knocked in a two-run double.

The Crush added three runs in the third. After Boli drove in his third run of the game with a base hit, Flock laced a two-run single to center to make it 8-1.

While the offense was raking, Fashempour held down the fort on the mound. The Crush starter allowed just one earned run over four and two-thirds innings while striking out seven. He also got out of runners in scoring position jams in the first, second and fourth innings.

"I just assume that they're not going to score," said Fashempour. "I'm trying to strike as many guys out as I can, it's a good feeling as a pitcher."

After an Alex Babcock RBI ground out in the fourth inning made it 9-1, the Salt Cats pulled closer in the fifth.

Syracuse scored three runs in the frame, shrinking the Crush lead to 9-4.

However, that would be all the Salt Cats would get. The bullpen combination of Jimmy Tatum, Jonathan Treisler and Garrett Bell held the visitors off the scoreboard the rest of the game.

"You can't ask for much better than that," Fashempour said. "They were absolutely shut-down, it was good for the team."

Dylan Nolan added two more runs for the Crush in the fifth, smacking a pinch-hit triple to right center field to make it 11-4. It was Nolan's NYCBL best fifth triple of the year.

The game was tense throughout as well with both dugouts talking to each other a good portion of the game.

"We're just two competitive teams, we want to win, they want to win and whenever you've got the personalities we got and the personalities they've got, it gets like that sometimes, that's baseball," Flock said.

Flock, Boli and Landon Dombrowski all recorded two-base hits in the game to lead the Crush at the plate. Babcock, Nolan and Sean O'Malley also recorded based hits.

The win pulled the Crush within six points of the Salt Cats in the east division. The two teams meet again on Wednesday in Syracuse.

However, Cortland returns to action tonight at 6 p.m. As the Crush host the 12-11 Syracuse Spartans, who sit just a point behind the Crush in third in the division.