CLINTON, IA – The Captains’ bullpen struggles continued on Saturday night as the Captains (4-12) dropped the rubber match 8-5 to the LumberKings (5-11).
The LumberKings started the game with two runs in the first inning off of Captains starter Felix Sterling. Centerfielder Jamal Austin led off the game with a single and then stole second. Designated hitter Jabari Blash took a one out walk and then first baseman Ramon Morla singled to load the bases. Right fielder Mario Yepez walked in Austin to plate the first run and then third baseman Jean Acevedo hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Blash.
Lake County answered back in the top half of the second inning. Catcher Alex Lavisky doubled off of LumberKings starter Ambioris Hidalgo and then right fielder Bryson Myles tripled home Lavisky for the second consecutive night. Second baseman Robel Garcia singled to score Myles.
After back to back walks loaded the bases for third baseman Todd Hankins, he hit a groundball to shortstop Anthony Phillips but Phillips was unable to field the ball, allowing Garcia and first baseman Leonardo Castillo to score. The Captains led 4-2 after one and a half innings.
The Captains knocked Hidalgo out of the ballgame in the fourth inning. Garcia led off the inning with a walk and Castillo was hit by a pitch. Reliever Tim Griffin replaced Hidalgo and Hankins greeted him with a single up the middle to score Garcia.
Hidalgo pitched 3.0+ innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits. He walked three and struck out one.
Felix Sterling was replaced by Cole Cook in the fifth inning. Sterling pitched four innings, allowed two earned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out five.
Clinton scored three runs in the fifth off of Cook. Back to back singles to third base led off the inning. Blash reached on a fielding error by Hankins, which allowed Austin to score. Morla grounded out to shortstop allowing catcher Steven Baron to score. Acevedo laced a two out single to center field to score Blash and tie the game at 5-5.
Clinton continued to score in the seventh inning. Baron led off with a double and Blash singled to move Baron to third. Yepez put a bunt down to score Baron. Yepez and Blash executed a double steal of second and third. Acevedo scored Blash on a fielder’s choice and Yepez moved to third on a missed catch error by Hankins. Yepez scored on a groundout by left fielder Guillermo Pimentel.
Lake County had two runners on base two different times in the eighth but were unable to push a run across. Griffin allowed Lavisky and Myles to reach base, but reliever John Taylor replaced Griffin and did not allow a run to score. Taylor (1-0, 1.64 ERA) pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks. He struck out one.
Grant Sides replaced Cook in the eighth inning. Sides pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one batter.
Cook (0-1, 8.44 ERA) took the loss, pitching three innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits. Cook struck out five and walked no one.
Hankins and Myles both had two hits for the Captains, and Lavisky and Garcia each added a hit apiece, which counted for all of the offense for the Captains on the night as they were held to just six hits.
The Captains head to Geneva, Illinois to play a three game series against the Kane County Cougars. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 2:00 Eastern time.