Morgantown, W.V. - In what was probably the most needed start of the season, Francisco Morales struck out a season-high 10 Black Bears in the Crosscutters 8-4 road win.
It was almost a here we go again type of feel for the Cutters starter, allowing back-to0back singles to the first two batters in the bottom of the 1st inning, putting runners on the corners. Francisco Morales didn't seem to be phased, getting the strik'em out-throw'em out double play, getting Travis Swaggerty swinging while Rafael Marchan threw out Mike Gretler at 2nd base, leaving the runner at 3rd.
Morales ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout of Jhoan Herrera to leave the would be go-ahead run standing at 3rd base. Striking out two in the inning.
The Williamsport offense responded in the top of the 2nd inning, getting back-to-back one-out singles from Ben Aklinski and Matt Kroon to spark the inning.
Jesus Henriquez ripped a pitch down the 1st base line, being miss played by the 1st basemen Herrera, allowing Aklinski to run home and give the Crosscutters a 1-0 lead against Black Bears starter Alex Manasa.
Brayan Gonzalez added on to the Crosscutters lead, ripping a Manasa's offering into left field, chasing home both Kroon and Henriquez to up the lead to 3-0. Gonzalez was thrown out trying to advance to 2nd base on the play, but recorded his team-high 12th RBI on the play.
The 18-year old Morales took the newly minted three-run lead into the bottom of the 2nd inning, and retired the Black Bears in order, striking out Conner Kaiser and Nick Valakia along the way, raising his total to four through two innings.
Things got a little bumpy for Morales in the bottom of the 3rd, as the Black Bears were able to plate three runs to tie the game. The big blow came on a Mike Gretler two-run triple to right-center cutting the lead to 3-2. Gretler would score on a strikeout wild pitch with two outs that allowed Herrera to reach.
In the 3rd inning, Morales struck out three West Virginia batters, giving him seven punch puts through three innings of work.
The Crosscutters starter settle back in in the bottom of the 4th inning, striking out two more batters, en route to stranding the go-ahead runner at 3rd base in the frame. It gave Morales his 8th and 9th strikeouts of the night, setting a new season-high in the process.
Michael De La Cruz led off the 5th inning with a double to let field, advancing on the the play to 3rd on a Ben Pelletier fielding error. Gretler plated De La Cruz with a RBI groundout to 2nd base, giving the Black Bears a 4-3 lead.
Morales worked out of the 5th inning, picking up another strike out, his 10th. Setting a new season-high and becoming the first Crosscutter to strikeout 10 or more batters in a single outing this season.
In the top of the 6th the Cutters bats came to the aide of their starter, pushing across three runs to retake the lead against Manasa.
Danny Mayer plated the first run of the inning, blasting a Manasa offering off the wall in left field, scoring Marchan from 1st base to tie the game at 4-4, with two outs in the inning. It was the 7th RBI of the season for Mayer.
Ben Aklinski picked up his first RBI in a Cutters uniform, singling home Mayer to give the Cutters a 5-4 lead. It was Aklinski's 2nd hit of the night. Matt Kroon followed with a RBI double to left-center, scoring Aklinski to up the Cutters advantage to 6-4. For Kroon, it was his 3rd RBI of the season and his 1st double.
Jose Jimenez entered in relief in the bottom of the 6th inning, and was strong when the Cutters needed him to be. Jimenez struck out four over two innings of shutout relief, allowing just a hit and a walk in the outing.
The Crosscutters added a run in the top of the 8th inning, as Ben Pelletier scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Jesus Henriquez to up the Cutters advantage to 7-4. It was the 4th RBI of the season for Henriquez and gave Williamsport an insurance run.
Jonathan Guzman led off the top of the 9th inning with a hustle double to shallow left-center, setting up the Cutters for a potential big inning. With two outs, Mayer ripped a single up the middle to score Guzman and advance the Williamsport lead to 8-4. It was Mayer's third hit of the night and gave him his 8th RBI on the season.
Keylan Killgore took over in the bottom of the 8th inning out of the Cutters bullpen and provided Williamsport with two perfect framse of relief, picking up a pair of strikeouts in the 9th to earn his first save of the season.
The Cutters win ended a season-high seven-game losing streak, and allowed them to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Black Bears.
The Crosscutters make their way to Niles, Ohio to start a three-game series against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field.
Cutter Carvings - Danny Mayer has two three-hit nights this season, with the first coming on Opening Night... Rafael Marchan had his seven-game hit streak come to an end, going 0 for 3 with two walks... The Crosscutters 16 strike outs as a staff are a new season-high for a single game and are tied for 2nd most in a single game by any staff in the NYPL this season...
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.