EASTLAKE, OH – The Lake County Captains (6-15) held a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning but could not close the game as the Clinton Lumberkings (9-10) scored two runs in the top of the ninth to win the game 5-4.
The Lumberkings scored three quick runs in the first inning thanks to three hits, an error and wild pitch, with the big blow of the inning coming off the bat of right fielder Gaby Guerrero for an RBI triple.
The Captains countered with three runs of their own to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Second baseman Erik Gonzalez led off with an infield single, third baseman Leonardo Castillo walked with one out, and then right fielder Logan Vick followed with an RBI single to right field plating Gonzalez. Center fielder Luigi Rodriguezbrought in Castillo with a single – his seventh RBI of the year – and then Vick came home on a groundout by shortstop Dorssys Paulino.
Sisco came out for the sixth inning and allowed a single and a walk before Captains manager Scooter Tucker made the call to the bullpen. Reliever Nick Pasquale stepped into the jam and worked out of it without allowing a run.
Sisco finished the game going five-plus innings of work and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. He gave up two walks and struck out one.
“After the first inning, it looked like it was going to be a short day. But he looked good as he pitched into the sixth inning,” manager Scooter Tucker said on Sisco’s night.
The Captains took a short-lived 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. Paulino led off the inning with a single and after a wild pitch and a groundout he was at third with one out. Reliever Richard White uncorked a wild pitch which brought Paulino home.
The Captains brought in Francisco Valera to close out the game in the ninth, but he was unable to finish off the game. After recording two quick outs he walked first baseman Jordy Lara and pinch-hitter Taylor Ard came in and hit a single to third base that Castillo wildly threw over the first baseman’s head putting runners on second and third.
Valera followed that miscue up with a wild pitch to bring in the tying run. The Captains made their third straight mistake when first baseman Nellie Rodriguez was unable to come up with a throw from Valera after a soft dribbler back to the mound. As the ball rolled down the right field line, Clinton moved ahead for a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish.
The Captains attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth when Castillo lined a two-out ground-rule double into the right field bullpen. With the tying run on second base, Clinton brought in right-hander Grady Wood to finish out the game. Vick ended the threat with a ground out to first base.
White picked up the win, allowing one run in one and two thirds innings of relief. Wood got his third save with retiring the only batter he faced. Valera was struck with the loss, giving up two runs (both unearned) on only one hit and two walks.
Pasquale threw three near-perfect innings after getting out of the jam in the sixth inning.
“We have asked him to come in and pitch multiple innings and he did a nice job tonight to follow Jake [Sisco],” said Tucker.
Luigi Rodriguez and Vick led the team with two hits and RBI each. The Captains out hit the Lumberkings eight to seven on the night.
The Captains and Lumberkings will conclude their three game series on Saturday afternoon. Lake County will send right-hander Dylan Baker (0-2, 4.20 ERA) to the mound against right-hander Matt Anderson (0-2, 7.50 ERA) for Clinton. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM from Classic Park.